B Physicists spot the signatures of nuclear fusion in a table-top device

  • Thread starter jedishrfu
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Want a nuclear fusion reactor for your home or office? No problemo...


Neutrons characteristic of nuclear fusion have been produced sustainably inside a device that is small enough to fit on a tabletop. Yue Zhang at the University of Washington and colleagues observed the neutrons following efforts to stabilize the accelerated plasma contained within a Z-pinch, a device that for decades has been used by astronomers to recreate the hot plasmas typical of a stellar interior. The new work offers a potential route towards compact fusion-energy generators, as an alternative to large-scale, tokamak-based devices.

A Z-pinch device works by running a strong current along a tube of accelerated plasma, inducing a Lorentz force that generates a strong magnetic field within the plasma. This field “pinches” the plasma by bringing particles closer together – increasing its pressure, and therefore, its temperature.
I like the model and the multi regional descriptions:
- American snaps
- Taiwan Velcro
- Oxford fabrics

They forgot the Tinfoil hat.
Article says the plasma has 200kA going through it, is that induced current from an electromagnet? Assuming it is, how much power is needed to sustain the current?
You can achieve fusion with a simple accelerator with tens of kV accelerating voltage. That is not the challenge. The challenge is to get more energy out than you put in, and I don't see them getting anywhere close to that with their Z pinch.
Actually I was mostly interested in the effective resistance of the plasma. Clearly it must be low, which makes sense thinking about it...


Sounds like the Scylla machine in the 50's that had a theta pinch and produced a pulse of neutrons. After investigation, what was discovered was 'the sausage instability' rather than thermonuclear fusion.

In essence, two 'sausages' of plasma pinched off at a point which generated huge electric fields and duly accelerated deuterons to the necessary energies for fusion in the gap that formed between them.

History is now repeating itself for magnetic confinement fusion?

What is the confinement time they are suggesting? Microseconds, I suppose......

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