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Title: Development of the dense plasma focus for short-pulse applications

The dense plasma focus (DPF) has long been considered a compact source for pulsed neutrons and has traditionally been optimized for the total neutron yield. Here, we describe the efforts to optimize the DPF for short-pulse applications by introducing a reentrant cathode at the end of the coaxial plasma gun. We reduced the resulting neutron pulse widths by an average of 21±921±9% from the traditional long-drift DPF design. Pulse widths and yields achieved from deuterium-tritium fusion at 2 MA are 61.8±30.761.8±30.7 ns FWHM and 1.84±0.49×10121.84±0.49×10 12 neutrons per shot. Simulations were conducted concurrently to elucidate the DPF operation and confirm the role of the reentrant cathode. Furthermore, a hybrid fluid-kinetic particle-in-cell modeling capability demonstrates correct sheath velocities, plasma instabilities, and fusion yield rates. Consistent with previous findings that the DPF is dominated by beam-target fusion from superthermal ions, we estimate that the thermonuclear contribution is at the 1% level.
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  1. National Security Technologies, LLC, Las Vegas, NV (United States)
  2. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  3. Voss Scientific, Inc., Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1070-664X; TRN: US1701035
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physics of Plasmas
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 24; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1070-664X
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Research Org:
National Security Technologies, LLC, Las Vegas, NV (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (NA-20)
Country of Publication:
United States
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; dense plasma focus; neutrons; cathodes; anodes; plasma sheaths
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1361711