Monday, November 22, 2010

dense plasma focus

 A lot of people are researching various technologies which might enable practical fusion-based power generation.  Aside from the biggest (in terms of dollars being spent) technology, Inertial Confinement, and the second biggest (Magnetic Confinement), there are a number of other, less popular, but still promising technologies being investigated.

One of these is Dense Plasma Focus.  DPF has been around since the 60s and has traditionally been a short-pulse source for neutrons and x-rays.  While DPF has long been known to produce fusion for very, very brief periods, few researchers felt  it offered much promise for power generation... until recently.  However, "not many" is more than "zero", and a few very smart people are working hard on the problems presented.

Over the weekend, I stumbled across a group who have assembled quite a respectable device.  They mentioned in one of their posts that they are having trouble getting all of their switches to fire within the acceptable window of 10nS.

I looked at their setup.  They are using conventional trigatrons.  Conventional trigatrons have, at best, a jitter number around 10nS unless additional finicky methods (such as radiation sources or pre-ionization) are used to reduce the turn-on delay.

Typically, if you care about jitter a great deal, you use either distortion triggered switches, or laser-triggered switches. I'm more than a little puzzled that this team did not do so from the beginning. If they really do need to achieve <10nS jitter between all of their switches, it seems to me they're screwed unless they change the switch type and triggering scheme.  Of course, that would significantly increase trigger generator complexity, but if you want faster switching and less jitter, your choices are rather limited.

I look forward to getting on their forums to discuss this, perhaps there is something I'm missing.

No comments: