Aaron Louis Garofalo, Brian Neumeyer, Matthew Bloom, Matthew Michalewicz, Steven Stewart


The purpose of this project is to design, construct, operate, and observe a Farnsworth–Hirsch Fusor (referred to as “fusor”) that demonstrates inertial electrostatic confinement of plasma. Using previously-created designs from Make Magazine as reference, a slightly larger borosilicate chamber was built to house the reactions. This fusor provides a valuable stepping stone in gaining experience toward constructing a higher-powered fusor that can maintain small-scale nuclear fusion, while also being capable of studying plasma behavior under a greater range of conditions, such as the addition of inert gases and variable vacuum pressures. Materials were chosen carefully for the project to create proper behavior in the system, to ensure no damage to the equipment or surroundings, and to prevent as many uncertainties in measurements as possible. In reference to the chosen materials, it is imperative to mention that air was the only substance used to form the plasma within the chamber. A high-voltage, direct-current power supply based on a rectified neon-sign transformer was used to form a powerful electric field that created and contained a plasma sphere in the center of the chamber, popularly known as ‘star mode’. The goal of achieving ‘star mode’ was attained and the vacuum, secondary voltage, and current were recorded. The current fusor design is referred to as the low-powered fusor, as it is incapable of producing nuclear fusion; however, it demonstrates the concept and the potential to do so, given the higher electrical potential difference required for the high-powered fusor. With the low-powered fusor, the design goal was accomplished. The secondary goal of creating nuclear fusion through the design, construction, and operation of a high-powered fusor is currently in progress. The scope of this report will be limited to the low-powered fusor, with brief mentions and descriptions of the high-powered fusor where applicable.



nuclear fusion; plasma; fusor

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