Researchers Report Neutron Production in Small Scale Fusion Experiments

Thanks to Sam for sharing an article from the Science Alert website about a team of researchers at the University of Washington who have been testing new approaches to achieving fusion energy on a smaller scale than the large hot Tokamak approaches that have proved to be very challenging.

From the article:

Using a mix of 20 percent deuterium and 80 percent hydrogen, the team managed to hold stable a 50 centimetre (1.6 foot) long column of plasma enough to achieve fusion, evidenced by a signature generation of neutrons being emitted.

The team has published an article about their work in the American Physical Society’s Physical Review Letters titled “Sustained Neutron Production from a Sheared-Flow Stabilized Z inch”

Here is the abstract:

The sheared-flow stabilized Z pinch has demonstrated long-lived plasmas with fusion-relevant parameters. We present the first experimental results demonstrating sustained, quasi-steady-state neutron production from the fusion Z-pinch experiment, operated with a mixture of 20% deuterium/80% hydrogen by pressure. Neutron emissions lasting approximately 5μs are reproducibly observed with pinch currents of approximately 200 kA during an approximately 16μs period of plasma quiescence. The average neutron yield is estimated to be (1.25±0.45)×105neutrons/pulse and scales with the square of the deuterium concentration. Coincident with the neutron signal, plasma temperatures of 1–2 keV and densities of approximately 1017cm3 with 0.3 cm pinch radii are measured with fully integrated diagnostics.