Tuesday, July 12, 2011

News release: In fusion race, lightning thunders over lasers

I guess you can say this is "hot"!  As in hot fusion as opposed to "cold fusion".  It is a bit of news from the Focus Fusion boys at  Lawrenceville Plasma Physics.  An excerpt from the press release:

NIF researchers hope to improve enough to reach ignition in a year, but LPP expects to substantially better its own results next month as major upgrades to FoFu-1 are completed. Yet, to judge from the work of most scientists at the conference, an observer might think that there were only two possibilities for fusion: NIF and the equally enormous ITER, a 100-foot tall “plasma donut” that may finish construction in France by 2025. 

 Looks like Focus Fusion is on schedule for feasibility demonstration at the end of the year.  A couple throw in quotes below completes the press release:
I think that the “Focus Fusion” approach of Lawrenceville Plasma Physics, Inc. should be funded as the science behind it is very interesting. Even if this approach does not succeed in producing fusion energy, the research will produce valuable technology in the near term. - Bruno Coppi, Professor of Physics and Senior Fusion Researcher, MIT

The experimental program that LPP plans to carry out has great potential to show how the plasma focus can be used to generate fusion energy and to demonstrate the feasibility of hydrogen-boron fusion. In addition, the experiments will investigate the magnetic effect, which will be very exciting. Achieving giga-gauss magnetic fields with the plasma focus, getting gyro-radii of the order of the electron Compton wavelength, will certainly be new physics and will open up large new possibilities for energy production. - Dr. Julio Herrera, Professor of Physics, National Autonomous University of Mexico

As I stated before, I really like Focus Fusion as a space propulsion device.  I am going to put this press release with the label that goes with the rest of the posts I made on that subject.

More here at NextBigFuture.

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