skip to main content

Title: Runaway electrons as a source of impurity and reduced fusion yield in the dense plasma focus

Impurities produced by the vaporization of metals in the electrodes may be a major cause of reduced fusion yields in high-current dense plasma focus devices. We propose here that a major, but hitherto-overlooked, cause of such impurities is vaporization by runaway electrons during the breakdown process at the beginning of the current pulse. This process is sufficient to account for the large amount of erosion observed in many dense plasma focus devices on the anode very near to the insulator. The erosion is expected to become worse with lower pressures, typical of machines with large electrode radii, and would explain the plateauing of fusion yield observed in such machines at higher peak currents. Such runaway electron vaporization can be eliminated by the proper choice of electrode material, by reducing electrode radii and thus increasing fill gas pressure, or by using pre-ionization to eliminate the large fields that create runaway electrons. If these steps are combined with monolithic electrodes to eliminate arcing erosion, large reductions in impurities and large increases in fusion yield may be obtained, as the I{sup 4} scaling is extended to higher currents.
Authors:
;  [1]
  1. LPPFusion, Inc., 128 Lincoln Blvd., Middlesex, New Jersey 08846 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22304428
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 21; Journal Issue: 10; Other Information: (c) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; ANODES; BREAKDOWN; CURRENTS; EROSION; EVAPORATION; FUSION YIELD; PLASMA; PLASMA FOCUS; PLASMA FOCUS DEVICES; PLASMA IMPURITIES; RUNAWAY ELECTRONS