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July 12, 2011

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics gets more neutrons per joule than National Ignition Facility

Lawrenceville plasma physics has more neutrons per joule than the National Ignition Facility

* NIF produces just a bit less than a million neutrons per joule of energy.

* NIF researchers reported producing an impressive 400 trillion neutrons from the fusion reactions in their best experiments. But NIF uses a lot of energy to accomplish this feat, some 422 million joules of electric energy.

* FoFu-1 has produced 3.7 million neutrons per joule, almost 4 times better than NIF.

* FoFu-1’s best experiments required less than a tenth of one-percent the energy NIF used—thirty-five thousand joules instead of over four hundred million—but still generated 130 billion fusion neutrons.



If FoFu-1 achieved the same conditions with DT fuel as it had with DD, it would have achieved results some 60 times better than NIF.

NIF researchers hope to improve enough to reach ignition in a year, but LPP expects to substantially better its own results next month as major upgrades to FoFu-1 are completed.

Even with superior results, LPP’s FoFu-1 must improve its performance by orders of magnitude to demonstrate the feasibility of net energy. In addition, if feasibility is proven, major engineering efforts will also be needed to build a working prototype generator. All this takes funding. But LPP hopes that decision makers will look beyond just two huge approaches, and instead expand both private and governmental fusion investment to include far more ideas, including a little lightning in a bottle.

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