Research update! The latest data from LPPFusion’s lab shows that all the plasma in our tiny fusion plasmoid is hot, not just some of it. Hot in this case means 600 million degrees K, sixty times hotter than the center of the sun. This new result shows that our results are being fairly compared with those of other fusion approaches and that we really do have the hottest confined plasma in the fusion race.
LPPFusion published in 2017 results that showed our device FF-1 had achieve the hottest confined ion energy of any fusion device—energy equivalent to temperature of 2.8 billion K. However, some critics questioned if all the ions were this hot, or if there was a hidden background of cold plasma. In this alternative, a small number of hot ions in our plasmoid were colliding with a large number of cold ions to produce the fusion reactions we observed. So, critics argued, our record did not really reflect what was going on inside the plasmoid that produced the fusion reactions.
The new x-ray data that we analyzed this week rules out this cold-plasma idea. X-rays are emitted when hot electrons collide with any ions—hot or cold. So, the quantity of x-rays emitted measures the total number of ions (charged atoms) present in the plasmoid. At the exact same time, we are measuring the number of neutrons produced by fusion reactions, which are a measure of the number of hot ions. By measuring the ratio of neutrons to x-rays (and correcting for temperature and other factors) we can measure the ratio of the number of hot ions to the number of total ions.
When we did this for our best shot so far this year, shot 1 of October 21, we found that while the neutrons showed 0.125 joule (watt-sec) of fusion energy was released, only 0.035 joule of x-rays energy was emitted. (See the graph above—the big peak on the right is from the neutrons and the small peaks on the left are from the x-rays. The third peak from the left was produced when the fusion reactions took place. The horizontal axis is time in microseconds. Neutrons travel much slower than x-rays, so arrive at our instrument later.) Based on this ratio, we calculated that the number of hot ions is the same as the number of total ions, with a 15% error margin. So, at least for this shot, there’s no room for cold plasma—it is all hot. We’ll soon be doing the same analysis for all shots we take.
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