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Title: Investigation of light ion fusion reactions with plasma discharges

Abstract

The scaling of reaction yields in light ion fusion to low reaction energies is important for our understanding of stellar fuel chains and the development of future energy technologies. Experiments become progressively more challenging at lower reaction energies due to the exponential drop of fusion cross sections below the Coulomb barrier. We report on experiments where deuterium-deuterium (D-D) fusion reactions are studied in a pulsed plasma in the glow discharge regime using a benchtop apparatus. We model plasma conditions using particle-in-cell codes. Advantages of this approach are relatively high peak ion currents and current densities (0.1 to several A/cm 2) that can be applied to metal wire cathodes for several days. We detect neutrons from D-D reactions with scintillator-based detectors. For palladium targets, we find neutron yields as a function of cathode voltage that are over 100 times higher than yields expected for bare nuclei fusion at ion energies below 2 keV (center of mass frame). A possible explanation is a correction to the ion energy due to an electron screening potential of 1000 ± 250 eV, which increases the probability for tunneling through the repulsive Coulomb barrier. Finally, our compact, robust setup enables parametric studies of this effect atmore » relatively low reaction energies.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1];  [1];  [1]; ORCiD logo [1];  [1];  [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [2];  [3];  [1]
  1. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  2. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology, Cambridge, MA (United States)
  3. Univ. of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC (Canada)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS) (SC-27)
OSTI Identifier:
1582630
Grant/Contract Number:  
[AC02-05CH11231]
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Applied Physics
Additional Journal Information:
[ Journal Volume: 126; Journal Issue: 20]; Journal ID: ISSN 0021-8979
Publisher:
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY

Citation Formats

Schenkel, T., Persaud, A., Wang, H., Seidl, P. A., MacFadyen, R., Nelson, C., Waldron, W. L., Vay, J. -L., Deblonde, G., Wen, B., Chiang, Y. -M., MacLeod, B. P., and Ji, Q. Investigation of light ion fusion reactions with plasma discharges. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1063/1.5109445.
Schenkel, T., Persaud, A., Wang, H., Seidl, P. A., MacFadyen, R., Nelson, C., Waldron, W. L., Vay, J. -L., Deblonde, G., Wen, B., Chiang, Y. -M., MacLeod, B. P., & Ji, Q. Investigation of light ion fusion reactions with plasma discharges. United States. doi:10.1063/1.5109445.
Schenkel, T., Persaud, A., Wang, H., Seidl, P. A., MacFadyen, R., Nelson, C., Waldron, W. L., Vay, J. -L., Deblonde, G., Wen, B., Chiang, Y. -M., MacLeod, B. P., and Ji, Q. Mon . "Investigation of light ion fusion reactions with plasma discharges". United States. doi:10.1063/1.5109445.
@article{osti_1582630,
title = {Investigation of light ion fusion reactions with plasma discharges},
author = {Schenkel, T. and Persaud, A. and Wang, H. and Seidl, P. A. and MacFadyen, R. and Nelson, C. and Waldron, W. L. and Vay, J. -L. and Deblonde, G. and Wen, B. and Chiang, Y. -M. and MacLeod, B. P. and Ji, Q.},
abstractNote = {The scaling of reaction yields in light ion fusion to low reaction energies is important for our understanding of stellar fuel chains and the development of future energy technologies. Experiments become progressively more challenging at lower reaction energies due to the exponential drop of fusion cross sections below the Coulomb barrier. We report on experiments where deuterium-deuterium (D-D) fusion reactions are studied in a pulsed plasma in the glow discharge regime using a benchtop apparatus. We model plasma conditions using particle-in-cell codes. Advantages of this approach are relatively high peak ion currents and current densities (0.1 to several A/cm2) that can be applied to metal wire cathodes for several days. We detect neutrons from D-D reactions with scintillator-based detectors. For palladium targets, we find neutron yields as a function of cathode voltage that are over 100 times higher than yields expected for bare nuclei fusion at ion energies below 2 keV (center of mass frame). A possible explanation is a correction to the ion energy due to an electron screening potential of 1000 ± 250 eV, which increases the probability for tunneling through the repulsive Coulomb barrier. Finally, our compact, robust setup enables parametric studies of this effect at relatively low reaction energies.},
doi = {10.1063/1.5109445},
journal = {Journal of Applied Physics},
number = [20],
volume = [126],
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {11}
}

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