Inertial-Electrostatic Confinement Fusion Experiments and Theory at UW-Madison

Event Date: September 15, 2010
Speaker: John Santarius, Ph.D.
Research Professor
Department of Engineering Physics

Associate Director for Alternate Applications and Concepts, Fusion Technology Institute

Speaker Affiliation: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Location: EE 170
John Santarius

This talk will give an overview of Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) research at the University of Wisconsin (UW). In most IEC devices, a voltage difference between concentric, nearly transparent spherical grids accelerates ions to fusion-relevant velocities and focuses them into a dense core. An alternative IEC approach uses ion guns to create convergent ion beams, which was the earliest IEC embodiment, and investigates whether potential structures form.  Graduate student and other researchers at UW operate IEC devices in three chambers, and also use an ion gun to implant helium and deuterium into surfaces to investigate damage. Helium implantation into tungsten, silicon carbide, and other materials at fusion reactor relevant temperatures (~1,000 oC) has been found to lead to significant surface damage on relatively short time frames. The IEC research program aims to generate fusion reaction products for various applications, including neutrons for detecting clandestine materials and protons for creating radioisotopes for nuclear medicine. Graduate students have experimentally identified C 4 explosives and highly enriched uranium (HEU) using IEC-generated neutrons in the UW laboratory. Most IEC devices worldwide, including the UW devices, operate primarily in a pressure range (1-10 mTorr) that allows ions to make only a few passes through the core before they undergo atomic or molecular physics processes. An integral equation approach to modeling such process has been developed and will be discussed. The UW IEC research group uses standard diagnostics, such as proton detectors, neutron detectors, residual gas analyzers, and spectroscopic analysis. New diagnostic techniques have also been developed, including eclipse disks, a fusion-product Doppler-shift mass spectrometer, and a time-of-flight analyzer to determine the location and energy spectrum of the reacting ions. A brief summary of all of these topics will be presented.

Brief Biography:
Dr. John Santarius is the Associate Director for Alternate Applications and Concepts in the Fusion Technology Institute and a Research Professor in the Department of Engineering Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his B.S. from Caltech in 1973 and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1979. His major research emphases focus on inertial-electrostatic fusion for clandestine materials detection and nuclear medicine; plasma physics and engineering for magnetic fusion, magnetized-target fusion, and inertial-confinement fusion; D-3He fusion fuel for proliferation-proof fusion power plants; energy conversion; and space resources. Dr. Santarius has taught the University of Wisconsin course Astrodynamics, and he developed and has taught the special topics course Plasma Space Propulsion. Dr. Santarius suggested the possibility of a major lunar resource of 3He fusion fuel and contributed to subsequent Fusion Technology Institute work verifying the existence of this resource. He serves on the IEEE Fusion Technology Standing Committee and served as guest editor for special D-3He issues of the American Nuclear Society journal Fusion Technology in 1992.

2010-09-15 15:30:00 2010-09-15 16:30:00 America/Indiana/Indianapolis Inertial-Electrostatic Confinement Fusion Experiments and Theory at UW-Madison EE 170