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Apparatus for Collimating and Focusing Charged Particles (e.g. Protons) from an IEC

intense_ion_beam.gif (84326 bytes)

Image of 100 MWe IEC fusion powered spacecraft
with ion thruster propulsion

intense_ion_beam.gif (84326 bytes)

A magnetic expander connects an array of IEC modules to a separator.


This device offer methods for collimating and focusing energetic charged particles emitted nearly isotropically from a fusion device.  One version includes a fusion device in a container and an electric current carrying winding disposed about the container to provide a magnetic field to direct charged particles generated by the device.  A pair of electric current carrying coils are positioned within the container to control the strength of the magnetic field in a region between these coils, such that effects on fusion plasma can be minimized.  In other forms, charged particles generated in a fusion device are directed along a magnetic channel to an energy converter to provide electric power.  One such form includes a magnetic expander and an electron-ion separator to provide a net electric current.


One version of the present invention includes one or more inertial electrostatic confinement devices to provide charged particles and one or more energy converters to provide electric power from at least a portion of the charged particles.  In one form, this embodiment utilizes an electrostatic converter that separates high-energy charged particles from low-energy charged particles.  Such a converter facilitates processing of the separated, high- and low-energy components by different apparatus.  This electrostatic converter can be arranged to produce electricity by collecting low-energy electrons and low-energy, positively charged ions with different collectors and another converter can be utilized to provide electricity from the high-energy particles.

Charged particles are generated with a fusion reaction device and are directed along a channel with a magnetic field.  A pair of coils is operated in this magnetic field that are spaced apart from one another along the channel.  These coils are operated to control strength of the magnetic field in a space between the two coils.  The fusion reaction device can be based on inertial electrostatic confinement.

A pair of coils are also included in the apparatus that are positioned inside the vacuum vessel.  The electrode(s) of the electrostatic confinement device is/are located between these coils.  The coil pair is operable to control the magnetic field in the vicinity of the electrode(s).  Such control can include the reduction or substantial elimination of the magnetic field in the central region of the electrode(s).  The apparatus can further include a stabilizing coil positioned between the pair of coils and about the electrode(s).

Accordingly, the object of this device is to provide one or more techniques to manage charged particles emitted from fusion reactors.  Possible applications include thrust for space propulsion, coupling to a direct energy converter for electrical power production, focused proton beam manufacturing or medical application and proton induced radioisotope production.

Some Possible Applications

This gun can be coupled to a processing chamber to provide an ion beam within the chamber.  The processing chamber can include an electrode positioned inside, and in one particular form includes an inertial electrostatic containment plasma device.  One or more conveyor subsystems can be coupled to the processing chamber to deliver and/or retrieve work pieces.  Such a system should have a variety of applications ranging from semi conductor manufacturing to micro hole drilling. 

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