Nuclear and Atomic Physics


Magnetized Target Fusion Using High Speed Pellets

Authors: Colin Bruce Jack

There is a way to perform inertial confinement fusion which avoids the usual need for either a sacrificial assembly of significant cost, or control of complex plasma behaviour.

Ultraspeed charged pellets have been fired at 100 km/s from modified particle accelerators for decades, and Winterberg suggested their use for inertial confinement fusion, also decades ago. The show-stopper has been the impossibility of bringing charged pellets to a true focus using predetermined electric or magnetic fields, a consequence of Earnshaw’s theorem. I have invented a technique for achieving such focusing, by measuring and adjusting the trajectories of individual pellets. Precise focus can then be achieved at any range. A series of pellets fired at successively increasing speeds from a linear accelerator some distance from a target can catch up en route to arrive together. Thus an accelerator of relatively modest power can deliver an intense input to a compact volume.

Slutz et al. have shown that high gain magneto-inertial fusion can be performed using implosion speed as low as 130 km/s. They propose Z-pinch with a magnetized liner, plus a laser pulse to preheat a central portion of the fuel. However disadvantages of this method include:

•Peak input power ~1 PW: high capital cost

•Sacrificial capsule with low impedance wires for ~60 MA input current pulse is difficult and costly to recycle: high ‘kopeck’ cost

Identical fusion conditions can be created using instead pellets fired in at high speed. This method has the advantages:

•Peak input power ~20 GW at a few MHz, provided by commercially available RF MOSFETs

•No central sacrificial capsule or wires needed; the pellets are cheap to make

This paper describes an appropriate design. The detonation can take place completely surrounded by lithium. Most of the energy produced can be directly converted to electricity by MHD.

Comments: 12 Pages.

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Submission history

[v1] 2016-07-20 11:30:27

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