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Heat generation above break-even from laser-induced fusion in ultra-dense deuterium
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Previous results from laser-induced processes in ultra-dense deuterium D(0) give conclusive evidence for ejection of neutral massive particles with energy >10 MeV u−1. Such particles can only be formed from nuclear processes like nuclear fusion at the low laser intensity used. Heat generation is of interest for future fusion energy applications and has now been measured by a small copper
(Cu) cylinder surrounding the laser target. The temperature rise of the Cu cylinder is measured with an NTC resistor during around 5000 laser shots per measured point. No heating in the apparatus or the gas feed is normally used. The fusion process is suboptimal relative to previously published studies by a factor of around 10. The small neutral particles H
(0) of ultra-dense hydrogen (size of a few pm) escape with a substantial fraction of the energy. Heat loss to the D2 gas (at <1 mbar pressure) is measured and compensated for under various conditions. Heat release of a few W is observed, at up to 50% higher energy than the total laser input thus a gain of 1.5. This is uniquely high for the use of deuterium as fusion fuel. With a slightly different setup, a thermal gain of 2 is reached, thus clearly above break-even for all neutronicity values possible. Also including the large kinetic energy which is directly measured for MeV particles leaving through a small opening gives a gain of 2.3. Taking into account the lower efficiency now due to the suboptimal fusion process, previous studies indicate a gain of at least 20 during long periods.
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