LPPF is preparing actively for both the experiments with beryllium electrodes expected in the spring and for the shift to hydrogen-boron fuel expected before year-end. The research team is planning the new vacuum system that will ensure that any beryllium dust the machine produces will be safely trapped in filters. As well, efforts are underway to ensure that the experiments will continue our high safety standard.
Based on data in the literature, the team recognized that a reaction of hydrogen and boron-10 would produce radioactive beryllium-7. With a half-life of two months, this isotope would certainly complicate any work with the device. To avoid any significant production of Be-7, Lerner calculated that 99.99% pure boron-11 would be needed. Naturally occurring boron is only 80% boron-11 with 20% boron-10.
Fortunately, due to the large 10% difference in mass between the isotopes, separating B-11 and B-10 is not that difficult. LPPF has already located at least one provider of 99.99% B-11. We are now searching for a second company to convert the pure B-11 to the compound of hydrogen and boron we need, decaborane (H14B10).