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Design of an Ion Source for 3He Fusion in a Low Pressure IEC Device

Gregory R. Piefer, John F. Santarius, Robert P. Ashley, Gerald L. Kulcinski

Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 47 / Number 4 / May 2005 / Pages 1255-1259

Technical Paper / Fusion Energy - Nonelectric Applications /

Recent developments in helicon ion sources and Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) device performance at UW-Madison have enabled low pressure (< 50 torr, 6.7 mPa) operating conditions that should allow the 3He-3He fusion reaction to be observed in an IEC device. An ion source capable of delivering a ~ 10 mA 3He ion beam into an IEC device with minimal neutral gas flow has been designed and tested. Furthermore, a new IEC device that has never been operated with deuterium has been constructed to avoid D-3He protons from obstructing the 3He-3He reaction product spectrum, and to minimize Penning ionization of deuterium by excited helium, which in the past is suspected to have limited the ionized density of He. These developments make it possible to study beam-background 3He-3He fusion reactions with > 300 mA recirculating ion currents.

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