Development of a palm top plasma focusdevice generating (5.2 ± 0.8) × 104 neutrons/pulse into 4π steradians with a pulse width of 15 ± 3 ns is reported for the first time. The weight of the system is less than 1.5 kg. The system comprises a compact capacitor bank, a triggered open air spark gap switch, and a sealed type miniature plasma focus tube. The setup is around 14 cm in diameter and 12.5 cm in length. The energy driver for the unit is a capacitor bank of four cylindrical commercially available electrolytic capacitors. Each capacitor is of 2 μF capacity, 4.5 cm in diameter, and 9.8 cm in length. The cost of each capacitor is less than US$ 10. The internal diameter and the effective length of the plasma focus unit are 2.9 cm and 5 cm, respectively. A DC to DC converter power supply powered by two rechargeable batteries charges the capacitor bank to the desired voltage and also provides a trigger pulse of −15 kV to the spark gap. The maximum energy of operation of the device is 100 J (8 μF, 5 kV, 59 kA) with deuterium gas filling pressure of 3 mbar. The neutrons have also been produced at energy as low as 36 J (3 kV) of operation. The neutron diagnostics are carried out with a bank of 3He detectors and with a plastic scintillator detector. The device is portable, reusable, and can be operated for multiple shots with a single gas filling.
Received 20 November 2012Accepted 19 May 2013Published online 10 June 2013
Article outline: I. INTRODUCTION II. EXPERIMENTAL DETAILS A. Plasma focusdevice B. Capacitor bank C. Power supply D. Diagnostics E. Operation of the PF device III. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION IV. CONCLUSIONS
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