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Cylindrical IEC configuration for a Neutron/Proton Source

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A photograph of a hollow cathode plasma discharge experiment (C-Device)

Abstract

An electrostatic accelerated-recirculating fusion neutron/proton source is disclosed. The energetic neutron/proton source comprises an axially elongated hollow vacuum chamber having an inner and outer wall. Reflectors are located at opposite ends of the vacuum chamber so that their centers lie on the axis of the vacuum chamber. A cathode that is 100% transparent to oscillating particles is located within the vacuum chamber between the reflectors, defining a central volume and having the same axis as the vacuum chamber. Anodes that are 100% transparent to oscillating particles are located near opposite ends of the vacuum chamber between the reflector dishes and the cathode, having axes coincident with the axis of the vacuum chamber. A means is also provided for introducing controlled amounts of reactive gas into the vacuum chamber, and its central volume. Further, a method is provided for applying an electric potential between the anodes, cathode and reflector dishes to produce ions from the reactive gas within the central volume and allow the recirculation of ions and electrons within the vacuum chamber, thus reducing the loss of particles. In an alternative method in order to generate a restructured plasma channel a magnetic field in the axial direction is attached to the circumference of the vacuum chamber.

Some Possible Applications

This IEC configuration is well suited to provide a neutron source for non-destructive testing, for safeguard inspection and for driving subcritical nuclear assemblies. It offers a line-like source, which is especially useful for covering large inspection/target areas such as those that might be employed in homeland in various safeguard systems (see the paper referenced at this page under the invention title "IEC Device as a Tunable X-ray Source".) The lack of a grid insures a long lifetime and low maintenance costs.

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