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D(3He,p)4He and D(d,p)3H fusion in a small plasma focus operated in a deuterium helium-3 gas mixture
Plasma focus
Track detectors
Issue Date: 
Springham, S. V., Sim, T. H., Rawat, R. S., Lee, P. C. K., Patran, A. C., Shutler, P., ... & Lee, S. (2006). D (3He, p) 4He and D (d, p) 3H fusion in a small plasma focus operated in a deuterium helium-3 gas mixture. Nukleonika, 51(1), 47−53.
A 3 kJ plasma focus was operated with a 3He-D2 gas mixture, with partial pressures in the ratio of 2:1,
corresponding to an atomic number ratio of 1:1 for 3He and D atoms. The fusion reactions D(3He,p)4He and D(d,p)3H were measured simultaneously using CR-39 polymer nuclear track detectors placed inside a pinhole camera positioned on the forward plasma focus axis. A sandwich arrangement of two 1000 μm thick CR-39 detectors enabled the simultaneous registration of two groups of protons with approximate energies of 16 MeV and 3 MeV arising from the D(3He,p)4He and D(d,p)3H reactions, respectively. Radial track density distributions were obtained from each CR-39 detector and per-shot average distributions were calculated for the two groups of protons. It is found that the D(3He,p)4He and D(d,p)3H proton yields are of similar magnitude. Comparing the experimental distributions with results from a Monte Carlo simulation, it was deduced that the D(3He,p)4He fusion is concentrated close to the plasma focus pinch column, while the D(d,p)3H fusion occurs relatively far from the pinch. The relative absence of D(d,p)3H fusion in the pinch is one significant reason for concluding that the D(3He,p)4He fusion occurring in the plasma focus pinch is not thermonuclear in origin. It is argued that the bulk of the D(3He,p)4He fusion is due to energetic 3He2+ ions
incident on a deuterium target. Possible explanations for differing spatial distributions of D(3He,p)4He and D(d,p)3H fusion in the plasma focus are discussed.
0029-5922 (print)
1508-5791 (online)
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