WO1990014670A1 - Isotope deposition, stimulation, and direct energy conversion for nuclear fusion in a solid - Google Patents

Isotope deposition, stimulation, and direct energy conversion for nuclear fusion in a solid Download PDF

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Publication number
WO1990014670A1
WO1990014670A1 PCT/US1990/002170 US9002170W WO9014670A1 WO 1990014670 A1 WO1990014670 A1 WO 1990014670A1 US 9002170 W US9002170 W US 9002170W WO 9014670 A1 WO9014670 A1 WO 9014670A1
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method
fusion
isotope
energy
fusible
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PCT/US1990/002170
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French (fr)
Inventor
Mario Rabinowitz
Joseph Santucci
David H. Worledge
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Electric Power Research Institute, Inc.
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Priority to US34605589A priority Critical
Priority to US346,055 priority
Application filed by Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. filed Critical Electric Power Research Institute, Inc.
Publication of WO1990014670A1 publication Critical patent/WO1990014670A1/en

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    • GPHYSICS
    • G21NUCLEAR PHYSICS; NUCLEAR ENGINEERING
    • G21BFUSION REACTORS
    • G21B3/00Low temperature nuclear fusion reactors, e.g. alleged cold fusion reactors
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02EREDUCTION OF GREENHOUSE GAS [GHG] EMISSIONS, RELATED TO ENERGY GENERATION, TRANSMISSION OR DISTRIBUTION
    • Y02E30/00Energy generation of nuclear origin
    • Y02E30/10Fusion reactors
    • Y02E30/18Low temperature fusion, e.g. "cold fusion"

Abstract

A method of fabricating a composite structure for a fusion process comprising providing a substrate (1) and depositing alternating layers of a fusible isotope (5) and an absorbing material (7).

Description

ISOTOPE DEPOSITION, STIMULATION, AND DIRECT ENERGY CONVERSION FOR NUCLEAR FUSION IN A SOLID

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to nuclear fusion in the solid state, and more particularly to techniques for increasing the fusion rate of solid solutions of low atomic weight nuclei in a solid HAS lattice with special applications to the generation of electrical power.

Nuclear fusion is an ideal source of energy since one of the potential fuels, deuterium, occurs in vast amounts in the oceans. In addition there is relatively little radioactivity associated with fusion compared with nuclear fission as an energy source. Because of the conversion of mass to energy, substantially more energy is produced than the energy input into the system.

Much work has been done for over three decades on high temperature plasma controlled fusion. However, the achievement of sustained controlled fusion in high- temperature plasmas still seems remote. Moreover, the apparatus is expensive and cumbersome.

In another approach, called muon catalyzed fusion, the electrons orbiting the hydrogen nuclei are ''replaced by muons. This decreases the orbit size, i.e. the radius of the hydrogen isotope, by the ratio of muon mass to the electron mass, which is a factor of approximately 200. This reduction in the width of the Coulomb barrier by a factor of 200 increases the tunneling probability by many orders of magnitude for fusing the nuclei of hydrogen isotopes (H) such as deuterium and/or tritium. Muonic fusion occurs at low temperatures. However, this method presents great difficulties in the production of the muons, their capture by the fusion reaction products, and to a lesser extent the very short half-life of the muons (of the order of microseconds) . In March, 1989, Professors Stanley Pons and Martin Fleisσhmann ("P&F") announced their achievement of sustained controlled fusion at room temperature in a palladium (Pd) electrolytic cell using heavy water (deuterium oxide) as the c electrolyte. Liquid solutions of deuterium oxide and of tritium oxide have densities comparable to that of the deuterium in the palladium in the P&F demonstration of fusion. Yet fusion has not been seen in these liquids. In addition palladium and other HAS such as platinum (Pt) have 0 been used to purify hydrogen and its isotopes from other gases as the hydrogen isotopes move readily through windows of these HAS, but other gases do not - not even helium. Fusion has not been observed in these circumstances.

Therefore for these reasons, hitherto unconsidered 5 physical mechanisms must be present for the fusion to occur at the observed levels. The implementation of and improvement upon these mechanisms is the basis for our invention as described herein in its many embodiments.

0 SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides techniques, applicable individually or in combination, for deposition of light isotopes in a hydrogen absorbing solid ("HAS") carrier material, stimulation to accelerate their fusion rate, and 5 apparatus for direct energy conversion of the nuclear fusion products into electrical energy.

One aspect of the instant invention relates to fast loading or deposition of the fusible light isotopes in a HAS composite structure with planar, or channel construction. 0 Another aspect of the present invention utilizes thermal stimulation by means of a laser to produce a high concentration of the isotopes. In one variation, laser ablation produces a shock wave in the loaded HAS accelerating the fusion reaction. 5 further aspect of this invention employs ultrasonic means for loading the HAS and stimulating fusion. A yet different aspect of the invention deals with various €aabodiments for the direct conversion of the fusion energy to electricity.

The invention, and advantages, features, and manifestafcions thereof will be more readily apparent from the fol___β__Lng detailed description and appended claims when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS -*-i-5- shows a schematic cross-section of apparatus for planzcr fast-loading of hydrogen isotopes in a HAS; ϊig. 2A is a cross-section of apparatus for product.∑m and fast-loading of channels with hydrogen isotopes in a HAS; -?-V5 ~ 2B is a top view of a grating or masking plate for manuaEacture of the channels;

∑±g. 3A illustrates apparatus to produce a thermally induced asaaock front of hydrogen isotope high-concentration density gradient; Tig. 3B shows a close-up of the thermally shocked region with a magnetic field, B, parallel to the surface; Fig. 3C shows a close-up of the thermally shocked region wa±h an electric field, E, perpendicular to the surface; Fig. 4A shows apparatus for ultrasonic modulation of hydrogen isotope high-concentration density in a HAS;

Fig. 4B shows an ultrasonic apparatus for energizing the hydrogen isotopes in the HAS;

Ug. 5A shows a retarding electrode means for direct conversion of the fusion charged particle kinetic energy to electricity; and

Fig. 5B shows an inductive coupling means in conjunction with circular trajectories for direct conversion to electricity. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Overview

The present invention contemplates a number of techniques which may be practiced individually or in 5 combination. To provide an overall perspective, these are presented in this Overview section.

There are four essential items for sustained controlled nuclear fusion: (1) Collision Frequency; (2) Tunneling Probability; (3) Fusion Probability; and (4) o Sustaining the reaction. The power delivered by nuclear fusion (fusion rate) is proportional to the product of the first three items. The fourth item relates to prevention of poisoning the reactions and replenishment of fuel (deuterium and tritium) . This'invention relates to method and 5 apparatus for improving items (1) , (2) , and (4) .

The detailed description below is primarily in terms of hydrogen isotopes and hydrogen absorbing solid ("HAS") material. However, it should be understood that various aspects of the invention apply to other fusible isotopes 0 (e- », Li ) and solids that absorb such other fusible isotopes.

Basic Fusion Reactions. The basic deuteron-deuteron fusion reactions are as follows: 5

1. H2 + H2 → H3 + H1 + 4 MeV

2. H2 + H2 → He3 + n + 3.3 MeV

3. H2 + H2 → He4 + 24 MeV

0 At high energies (i.e. at high temperatures) , reactions 1 and 2 occur with about equal probability and reaction 3 occurs only about one-millionth of the time in high temperature plasmas. Reaction 3 does not occur in free space. 5 P&F have reported a 4-watt output. This would seem to imply 10 12 to 1013 fusions per second, but the measured neutron and other radioactivity levels seem to imply a rate many orders of magnitude lower. One possible reason is that the fusion rate is indeed low and the additional energy is being supplied by co-existing exothermic chemical reactions. Two other possible reasons are much more exciting, and if r- correct, have great practical import. One possibility is that at the low temperatures (energies) of the P&F experiment, reaction 1 occurs at a much higher frequency than reaction 2. This would explain why the power output is so much higher than the radioactivity count — simply o because this reaction does not produce neutrons, and reaction 2 is greatly suppressed in comparison. Reaction 1 may be favored at low energy of the fusing particles because this provides time for mutual polarization of two approaching deuterons. Since the center-of-mass does not 5 coincide with the center-of-charge for the deuteron, at low energy the Coulomb repulsion between the two protons in the two deuterons approaching on a collision course will orient the nuclei so the neutrons are facing each other and the protons are as far apart as possible. This favors reaction !• The other possibility is that reaction 3 is also favored at low energy in a solid.

In any event the desirability of reactions that do not produce neutrons is manifest since neutrons and the energy they carry are lost to the system unless there is a great deal of shielding. Additionally, the neutrons can produce undesirable radioactivity in the ambient environment.

If H 3 and He3 are avai.lable, the followi•ng reactions can take place:

4. H2 + H" → He + n + 17.6 MeV 5. H2 + He3 → He4 + H1 + 18.3 MeV

A rare reaction that occurs in stars but might occur in a solid is:

6. H1 + H1 → H2 + e+ + v + 2.2 MeV Reaction 5 is particularly desirable since it is also neutronless, and the end products are charged. Reactions 1, 3, 5, and 6 allow the possibility of direct energy conversion to electricity, and would thus avoid the penalty of Carnot conversion efficiency in a heat cycle.

The probability for reaction 3, and others that may not be seen in the plasma state, is enhanced due to the increased probability for a many-body collision per reaction in the solid state which increases the number of reactions that can conserve energy and momentum compared with two body collisions.

Three other reactions for fusing particles may be possible. These are:

7 . H1 + H2 He3 + 7 + 5.4 MeV

8 . H1 + H3 He4 + 7 + 20 MeV

9 . H3 + H3 He4 + n+n+10 MeV

B. HAS/Hydrogen-Isotope Composite Nuclear Fusion Fuel

In accordance with one feature of the invention, a HAS composite structure may be fabricated as follows, for use in a power generating device. This permits fast loading of the Hydrogen isotopes, as well as fabrication of a controlled structure. A HAS substrate, for example palladium, titanium, lanthanum, zirconium, or other material is placed in a vacuum chamber. A sufficient number of atoms of the hydrogen isotope(s) , are introduced in the vacuum chamber to form a thin deposit on the HAS substrate. The deposit may be as thin as a single layer of atoms.

The hydrogen isotopes may be deposited onto the substrate in ionic form as occurs during sputtering. This may also be achieved, for example, by scanning a tuned monochromatic light source, such as a laser, in close proximity to the surface of the HAS substrate. The light source is tuned (e.g. its frequency is adjusted) to permit the removal of the electron associated with the hydrogen isotope. Once a thin layer of hydrogen isotopes is deposited onto the HAS substrate, new HAS atoms, in a vapor form, are introduced into the vacuum chamber. Only enough HAS atoms are introduced to deposit a thin film on top of 5 the hydrogen isotope layer previously deposited. This new layer of HAS atoms may also be as thin as a few monolayers of atoms. This process is repeated, and alternating layers of hydrogen isotopes, and HAS are deposited onto the substrate to form a sandwich structure many, many layers Q thick. The completed structure is then sealed to retain the hydrogen isotopes.

A masking device such as a grating may be used to selectively deposit hydrogen isotopes only in certain locations in channels on the fresh surface on top of the 5 substrate. This serves the purpose of creating regions within the composite material, that are effective channels for the rapid diffusion of hydrogen isotopes. For example, a very thin masking structure comprising a plate with many fine linear cutouts, may be laid on top of the HAS substrate. The hydrogen isotope will deposit on top of it, and on top of the substrate through the linear cutouts. The masking plate may then be removed, and HAS gas injected into the chamber to deposit it on top of the new surface. This process is repeated many times to construct a material that is rich in micro channels that are loaded with"the hydrogen isotope. The completed structure is then sealed. The composite material, either with, or without the preloaded microchannels, is subsequently ready for use in a cold nuclear fusion power generating device such as, for example, an ordinary electrolytic cell or in other devices as described in this invention.

C. Thermal Stimulation to Enhance Hydrogen Isotope Packing The following method can be used to pack hydrogen atom isotopes in a HAS structure for example palladium, titanium, lanthanum,zirconium or other material. The high densities of hydrogen isotopes that are reached contribute to achieva_r_g high collision densities, and therefore high nuclear fπsion rates within the solid.

The hydrogen isotope is brought in close proximity to the sux_C-_.ee of the HAS that is to be charged with it. One way to accomplish this is to place the oxidized form of the hydrogen isotope in a solid state, for example by freezing, and then placing a thin layer of this ice over the HAS. Another way is to use a thin film or patina of liquid oxidized±iydrogen isotope over the HAS. Another way is to o place"the iiquid form of the hydrogen isotope directly in contact v±±h the HAS. Another way is to obtain a dense gas of the hy-i.jgen isotope, or its oxidized form, and place this in cxmtact with the HAS. Once the atoms of the hydrogen isotope are' brought in close proximity to the HAS, 5 a tuned source of monochromatic light is pulsed onto the

HAS, and ±hxough the hydrogen isotope layer. The laser both ionizes t±ie hydrogen isotope, and delivers energy into the HAS. The ionized hydrogen isotope diffuses into the HAS. Accordingly, a minute amount of energy is deposited in the o HAS, affecting only a few microns immediately beneath the surface. Ehis region will, for a short period of time and until equilibration is reached with the surrounding HAS, exhibit a nigh temperature. The steep temperature gradient that is achieved between this high temperature region, and 5 its surrcαmdings, provides a strong driving force that causes the rapid diffusion of the hydrogen isotopes from the hot portion of the HAS towards the cold portion. Through repeated pulsing of the laser, the hydrogen isotope can be made to migrate and accumulate at high concentrations within 0 the body of the HAS. The HAS so prepared can subsequently be used as nuclear fusion fuel. Nuclear fusion may also be induced directly with the laser source as described elsewhere in this invention.

5 D. Pulsed Thermal Excitation

Some of the principles described in item C, may be used to induce nuclear fusion events at a high rate in materials that have been precharged with hydrogen isotopes through any of several means, including those described in B and C above. In these teachings, a source of energy is pulsed rapidly onto the hydrogen-isotope packed material. 5 The material incorporates a high number of hydrogen isotope atoms (such as deuterium and/or tritium) . The source of energy may be a light source such as a laser, a particle beam, or a high power microwave beam with the capability to raise the temperature of the HAS surface substantially, and 0 over a short period of time. The sharp temperature gradient generated by any of these means will cause a rapid flux of hydrogen isotopes within the HAS. This will increase the collision probability described in A, and cause high fusion rates. The fusion energy generated may in turn be used to 5 produce electricity directly, indirectly, or for other purposes.

Laser ablation can induce both a sharp pressure pulse and a sharp temperature pulse. When the laser beam strikes the HAS and quickly ablates off a few monolayers, a o sharp compression pulse travels down the HAS by conservation of momentum. This sharp pressure pulse compresses the hydrogen isotopes and produces a non-equilibrium condition to accelerate fusion. This pulsed method can be used to produce a pulsed current for inductive coupling to the 5 charged fusion products in direct conversion to electricity. A combined cycle can be incorporated in also utilizing the heat that is produced.

E. Ultrasonic Stimulation The fusion rate is proportional to the product of collision frequency and tunneling probability. In turn, the collision frequency is proportional to the number density of fusible particles. Ultrasonic stimulation can increase the number density of particles, and increase the tunneling probability by many, many orders of magnitude.

Another technique taught by this invention for packing hydrogen isotopes into the HAS at a very high number density concentration, is to use high frequency acoustic energy. In a system that comprises a body of HAS, and a source of hydrogen isotopes (for example in a liquid or gaseous form) in contact with the HAS, acoustic energy can be used to greatly enhance the diffusion of the isotope into the HAS. This invention takes advantages of the following physical principles. Acoustic energy applied to a liquid is deposited according to well known relationships. This energy induces cavitation in the liquid raising the temperature of the vapor to about 6000K, which is roughly the temperature of the sun's surface. The peak pressures during implosion of a cavity can be as high as 500 atmospheres. With such large temperature and pressure gradients, the hydrogen isotopes are driven into the hydrogen absorbing solid HAS at greatly enhanced rates thus producing a high concentration in the solid.

By means of ultrasonic transducers, a similar effect can be utilized within the solid to create a non-equilibrium condition and to increase the energy of the hydrogen isotopes by -20 times more than their normal thermal energy. This is amplified as an increase in the tunneling probability by many, many orders of magnitude.

F. Direct Energy Conversion Materials that have been charged with hydrogen isotopes in a manner described elsewhere in this invention, or in any other manner may be made to produce electrical energy directly, and without using a thermal-electrical conversion cycle, such as the Carnot cycle. Among the nuclear fusion events, some, as described in #1 through 9 above, release charged particles such as protons (^R ) . Normally these protons are retained within the fuel material. In this invention we teach how to use these charged particles to produce electricity. In one embodiment the fuel material is constructed as a thin structure, for example a thin foil. On one side of the material is the replenishing source of the hydrogen isotope, as described in B and C above, or in the references cited. On the other side of the thin material is a vacuum gap, on the other side of which is an electrical conductor or other apparatus for slowing down and capturing electrically charged particles. Nuclear fusion events within the fuel material give rise to charged particles. Because the fuel material constructed according to this invention is thin, very many of the charged particles escape it. The ones that are ejected towards the vacuum side, cross it and can be put to use directly to generate an electrical current for end use. The net directed motion of charge in a given direction produces an electrical current. In one embodiment, retarding electrodes are used to extract the electrical energy. The electrodes retard th'e motion of the charged particles passing through them, and in so doing generate electricity. In yet another embodiment, the charged particles are put in circular trajectories by means of a magnet. Electrical energy is extracted from the circulating beam. In yet another embodiment, the fusion rate is modulated producing a pulsed current source of the charged particles which is inductively coupled to an electrical load.

ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS The fusion enhancing embodiments of this invention can be constructed in various sizes, shapes, and configurations.

Figs. 1 and 2A-B show apparatus for fast loading or deposition of hydrogen isotopes in planar or channel form. Fig. 1 shows a grounded HAS substrate 1 in a vacuum chamber 2. Hydrogen isotope gas 3 is injected in small amounts through an intermittently opened valve 4 to deposit a thin layer on top of the substrate's surface 1. After each hydrogen isotope layer 5 is deposited, the HAS vapor is introduced through valve 6 into the vacuum chamber 1, to deposit a HAS layer 7 on top of the isotope layer 5. A structure varying from less than 1 mm in thickness to one of tens of centimeters may thus be manufactured. The layers may be deposited by physical vapor deposition, chemical vapor deposition, sputtering, or by an electrical discharge on to the substrate. In addition, the vapor may be ionized as shown in Figs. 1 and 2 by means of an ionizing laser source 8 which provides a beam 9 immediately above the active surface where hydrogen isotopes are depositing. A similarly constructed structure may be obtained by means of any of the processes of sputtering deposition, physical vapor deposition, electrolytic deposition, electrical discharges, and other similar deposition methods. Although the hydrogen isotopes may be deposited in neutral form, the ionized form is preferable as this helps to better saturate the already deposited HAS vapor layers and maintain a high density in the deposited layers. The completed structure is then sealed by the Seal Means. The seal material is preferably thin and relatively inert. If the HAS is to be used in a vacuum chamber, the seal material will prevent diffusion of the isotope particles out of the HAS into the vacuum. A sealer thickness of the order of 10 2 angstroms will prevent diffusion and yet let energetic charged particles out. A trestlework support structure may be added to provide mechanical strength for the sandwich structure. Fig. 2A shows a similar arrangement to that of Fig. 1, but uses a grating or masking plate 10 that has many fine cutouts 11 to produce microchannels 12 in the composite structure. These microchannels are loaded with hydrogen isotope, to greatly enhance the collision probability that contributes to increasing the nuclear cold fusion rate in solids. Fig. 2B shows a top view of the masking plate 10, with fine cutouts 11. The completed structure is then sealed and support structure added. If the HAS is to be used in an electrolytic cell, the seal material should be inert to protect the HAS from dissolving, and yet be thin enough (- tens of angstroms) so that hydrogen isotope ions may readily enter into the HAS.

Fig. 3A shows a grounded HAS 13 upon which has been placed a hydrogen isotope source 14 which may be in solid form (for example heavy ice) , in liquid form (for example heavy.water) , or as a dense gas. A laser source 15 provides a sharp ionizing pulse 16 of high energy density that is delivered through the hydrogen isotope 14 and to the HAS 13. 5 A particle beam, or a microwave source may also be used in placed of the light source. The energy pulse ionizes the hydrogen isotope 14 which enters the HAS 13. Although neutral hydrogen isotopes can enter the HAS, the absorption rate for hydrogen isotope ions is greater as the Pauli o Exclusion Principle makes it harder for atoms with orbiting electrons to diffuse into a solid. For some purposes, the isotopes need not be ionized; however, ionization is preferred for high density loading. The free electrons in the HAS act to screen the Coulomb fields of the hydrogen 5 ions. The ground source prevents charging up of the grounded HAS.

The deposited energy raised the local temperature of the HAS, thereby providing a strong temperature gradient that drives the hydrogen isotope into the HAS, and o concentrates it locally as indicated by region 17. Through successive pulses, the concentration of hydrogen isotopes in the HAS can be increased substantially, and nuclear fusion reactions can be induced in the solid. This technique may also be used to precharge the HAS with the hydrogen isotope 5 prior to use in a power generating cold fusion device, such as described elsewhere in this invention. After the HAS is charged, it is sealed.

Figs. 3B and 3C show enlarged views of region 17. Fig. 3B shows the option of imposing a magnetic field B parallel to the surface (into the paper) . This can reduce loss of charged isotopes away from the HAS, and increase the isotope concentration in the HAS. Fig. 3C indicates the option of applying an electric field, E, perpendicular to the surface for the same purpose. The electric field is produced by means of a grid 18 at potential +V with respect to the HAS 13. A very sharp, high power laser pulse can produce ablation of the HAS. The induced shock wave will compress the hydrogen isotopes, produce a non-equilibrium condition, and accelerate fusion as previously described in the section. Pulsed Thermal Excitation.

Fig. 4A illustrates an ultrasonic cell 20 containing heavy water and solutes 22, and a HAS rod 24 such as LaNi5, Ti, Pd, etc. Attached to the rod 24 is an ultrasonic transducer 26 whose primary function is to couple to the HAS. Inside the cell 20 are transducers 28 which primarily couple to the heavy water. The transducers 28 are tuned (adjusted in frequency and phase) to optimize the deposition of hydrogen isotopes into the HAS, and to regulate the fusion rate primarily by means of transducer 26. Ultrasound is a proven tool in promoting the interaction of a solid and a liquid. It has been shown that ultrasound can decompose water into hydrogen isotope ions, H , and hydrogen radicals 0H~.

Fig. 4B shows an ultrasonic cell 30 containing hydrogen isotopes in liquid form 32, and a HAS rod 34 with planar or preferably channel structure 36 containing absorbed hydrogen isotopes. The transducers 38 in contact with the liquid 32, primarily function to increase the hydrogen isotope deposition into the rod 34. The transducers 39 on both ends of the rod 34 primarily serve to energize the hydrogen isotopes inside the rod 34, and to create a non-equilibrium condition to greatly enhance the fusion rate. By means of the ultrasonic transfer of energy, the energy of the hydrogen isotopes can be ~ lev rather than the thermal energy of .025 eV. This over 40 times increase in energy translates into a velocity of -10 m/sec rather than 1550 m/sec. In the channel case of quasi-one- dimensional directed velocity, the relative velocity of two approaching particles becomes double (2 x 10 m/sec), and the fusion rate is further increased. The range of ultrasonic frequencies that can be generated varies from kilohertz to gigahertz, permitting a wide choice of operating parameters.

Fig. 5A shows a fusion generating device 50 for the direct production of electricity from a cold fusion device. For simplicity, the sketch shows stimulation apparatus 53 for accelerating the fusion reaction using processes such as described in conjunction with Figs 3 and 4. The sketch shows an arange ent with mirror symmetry, but a spherically symmetric arrangement with the HAS at the center may be o preferred in order to collect charged particles close to a 4π steradians solid angle. A HAS disk 51 is supported in an evacuated system 52. Charged particles 57 from the fusion process emanate from disk 51 to the left or to the right. These charged high energy particles 57 enter into a 5 controlling system which initially focuses them electrostatically or with magnetic quadrupole focusing and then presents a system of high voltage retarding and defocusing electrodes 59. The job of focusing and deceleration will be greatly aided if the charged particles o are largely mono-energetic. This will require a compromise between increasing the thickness of the HAS to increase the number of fusions and decreasing its thickness to optimize the particle energies. The system of electrodes 59 subtends as large a solid angle as possible about the HAS disk 51 5 source to have a high collection efficiency. As these particles are slowed down through the system of electrodes 59, they convert their kinetic energy to electrical energy. The electrodes 59 also defocus the particles 57 so that when they finally reach the wall 60, both their kinetic energy 0 and area density are low. Thus when the particles 57 are captured at the wall 60, the heating produced is minimal. The electrical energy may be produced either as direct current; or as shown alternating current is produced by means of the inverter. The control apparatus shown regulates the high voltage, and may also be used to control the fusion rate. Fig. 5B shows an HAS disk 70 in which fusion is being induced by any of various methods. The right side of the figure shows the charged particles 72 from the fusion reaction emanating into a system of focussing electrodes 74. The particles then enter a tube 76 surrounded by a spiral quadrupole magnet combination 78. Four ferrite magnets, uniformly spaced and alternating in polarity (N, S, N, S) are helically wound around the tube and constrain the particles to follow the tube 76 i.e. this quadrupole magnet combination 78 steers them. The fusion reaction can be modulated or direct electrical modulation of the beam can pulse the current of charged particles. A coil 80 (or series of coils) couples inductively to the particles to produce electrical energy for a load 82. Another embodiment is to utilize the charged particles 72, spiral quadrupole magnet 78, and tube 76 as a TRANSMISSION LINE all the way to the load center where the charged particle kinetic energy is finally converted to electrical energy such as described in conjunction with this Fig. 5B, Fig. 5A, or other means.

The left side of the HAS disk indicates in a very schematic way an alternative embodiment. The charged particles have been focused (as previously described and shown for the right side) and are bent into a circular orbit by a magnetic field B (shown into the paper) . 'The charged particle 72 current may be modulated at the source. A coil 84 couples inductively to this time varying current to produce electricity directly.

The embodiments shown on the left side of Fig. 5B entails all three aspects of generation, storage, and transmission of electricity. In the storage aspect, electrical energy is stored in the form of kinetic energy of the charged particles 72 that are circulating in the evacuated ring 86. This stored energy an be useful during peak load demands. When this circulating stored energy is limited by space charge considerations it may still be useful for enhancing the performance of the embodiment shown on the right hand side of Fig. 5B. This stored energy can be removed in any of a number of ways such as (1) inductively, (2) as described for the right side of Fig. 5B, or (3) as described for Fig. 5A by magnetically or electrostatically steering the particles out of the circulating beam through the exit 88 and converting their kinetic energy to electrical energy in the system of electrodes 59.

If an electrolytic cell is used as the source of the fusion particles, the HAS cathode forms the outer wall of the cell so that the charged particles may readily enter the evacuated region of the control system. When the fusion reaction is generated in an electrolytic cell, high pressure operation is desirable to minimize the formation of gas bubbles of the hydrogen isotope molecule. This enhances the rate of absorption of the ionic hydrogen isotope into the HAS. A pressure relief valve can be connected to the cell for safety purposes. Sodium sulfide may also be added to suppress the formation of molecular hydrogen isotope gas. When an appreciable amount of heat is produced concurrently with the charged particle emission, a combined cycle of heat-generated electricity and direct-conversion may be practiced.

While the invention has been described with reference to many embodiments, the descriptions are illustrative of the invention and are not to be construed as limiting the invention. Thus, various modifications and applications may occur to those skilled in the art without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

Claims

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A method of fabricating a composite structure for a fusion process, comprising the steps of; providing a substrate; and depositing alternating layers of a fusible isotope and an absorbing material.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein the layers of o fusible isotope are deposited in the form of narrow strips, thereby providing a composite structure having channels filled with the fusible isotope.
3. A method of loading a fusible isotope into an 5 absorbing material comprising the steps of: depositing the fusible isotope on the surface of the absorbing material; and creating a steep temperature gradient at the surface of the absorbing material. 0
4. The method of claim 3 wherein the step of creating a steep temperature gradient comprises irradiating the surface of the absorbing material with a pulse of electromagnetic radiation. 5
5. A method of exciting a composite structure having a fusible isotope within an absorbing material comprising subjecting the composite structure to a sharp pressure pulse. 0
6. The method of claim 5 wherein the step of subjecting the structure to a sharp pressure pulse comprises irradiating the surface of the structure with a laser to ablate material on the outside, thereby creating a sharp 5 compression pulse.
7. A method of loading an absorbing element with a fusible isotope comprising steps of: surrounding the absorbing element with a fluid source of the fusible isotope; and applying ultrasonic energy to at least one of the elements and the surrounding fluid.
8. The method of claim 7 wherein the step of applying ultrasonic energy comprises applying ultrasonic to both the element and the fluid source.
9. A method of enhancing fusion of fusible nuclei in a composite element comprising a solid absorbing medium and the fusible nuclei comprising applying ultrasonic energy to the element.
10. A method of directly converting to electricity the energy provided by a fusion reaction having charged reaction products that emanate from a fusion volume, comprising the steps of: electrostatically coupling the emerging charged reaction products to a set of electrodes to retard their motion and thereby convert their kinetic energy to electrical potential energy; and collecting the charged reaction products after retardation.
11. The method of claim 10, and further comprising the step of defocusing the charged reaction products prior to the collecting step.
12. A method of directly converting to electricity the energy provided by a fusion reaction having charged reaction products that emanate from a fusion volume, comprising the steps of: inductively coupling the emerging charged reaction products to a load to retard the motion and thereby convert their energy to electrical potential energy; and collecting the charged reaction products after retardation.
13. A method of directly storing the kinetic energy of the -charged reaction products of a fusion reaction, comprising the step of: circulating the charged reaction products.
14. The method of claim 13 wherein the charged particles are caused to circulate by means of a magnetic field-
lS. The method of claim 13 wherein the charged particles are caused to circulate by means of an electrostatic field.
16- The method of claim 13 wherein the charged particles are extracted from circulation and their kinetic energy is converted to electricity.
PCT/US1990/002170 1989-05-02 1990-04-20 Isotope deposition, stimulation, and direct energy conversion for nuclear fusion in a solid WO1990014670A1 (en)

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EP0645777A1 (en) * 1993-09-27 1995-03-29 CHIKUMA, Toichi Cold nuclear fusion apparatus
WO1995020816A1 (en) * 1994-01-27 1995-08-03 Universita' Degli Studi Di Siena Energy generation and generator by means of anharmonic stimulated fusion
WO1997020319A1 (en) * 1995-11-30 1997-06-05 Sgs-Thomson Microelectronics S.R.L. Solid fuel for cold nuclear fusion reactors
WO2003019575A1 (en) * 2001-08-30 2003-03-06 Rui Vilela Mendes Resonantly excited hybrid fusion of hydrogen isotopes absorbed in solid matter
US8891719B2 (en) 2009-07-29 2014-11-18 General Fusion, Inc. Systems and methods for plasma compression with recycling of projectiles
US9424955B2 (en) 2009-02-04 2016-08-23 General Fusion Inc. Systems and methods for compressing plasma
US10002680B2 (en) 2005-03-04 2018-06-19 General Fusion Inc. Pressure wave generator and controller for generating a pressure wave in a liquid medium

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* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
EP0645777A1 (en) * 1993-09-27 1995-03-29 CHIKUMA, Toichi Cold nuclear fusion apparatus
WO1995020816A1 (en) * 1994-01-27 1995-08-03 Universita' Degli Studi Di Siena Energy generation and generator by means of anharmonic stimulated fusion
WO1997020319A1 (en) * 1995-11-30 1997-06-05 Sgs-Thomson Microelectronics S.R.L. Solid fuel for cold nuclear fusion reactors
WO2003019575A1 (en) * 2001-08-30 2003-03-06 Rui Vilela Mendes Resonantly excited hybrid fusion of hydrogen isotopes absorbed in solid matter
US10002680B2 (en) 2005-03-04 2018-06-19 General Fusion Inc. Pressure wave generator and controller for generating a pressure wave in a liquid medium
US9424955B2 (en) 2009-02-04 2016-08-23 General Fusion Inc. Systems and methods for compressing plasma
US9875816B2 (en) 2009-02-04 2018-01-23 General Fusion Inc. Systems and methods for compressing plasma
US8891719B2 (en) 2009-07-29 2014-11-18 General Fusion, Inc. Systems and methods for plasma compression with recycling of projectiles
US9271383B2 (en) 2009-07-29 2016-02-23 General Fusion, Inc. Systems and methods for plasma compression with recycling of projectiles

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