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Fusion Claim- Kuba and Noah

Posted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 5:20 am
by Kuba Anglin
It has been about a year and a half since Noah and I initiated our quest to fuse atoms in my bedroom. Today we are confident that this goal has been attained.

We are twins currently attending high school as seniors. Our passion for physics began several years ago when we built our first Tesla coil. After the surprising success of our Tesla coil, we started a lab in my bedroom. Since then, we have completed many more projects. When the idea of building a fusion reactor was proposed, our parents were immediately concerned. Through much research and detailed explanations, we somehow were allowed to proceed with the project. We sought funding from family members and teachers. This was a difficult process but in the end, we were able to acquire enough money to begin construction. We ordered parts and began building. Much of our progress is logged in this website. While we did not have a specific mentor guiding us through this process, we are incredibly thankful to everyone on this forum who offered a helping hand and imparted some of their knowledge onto us. Now onto the data!

Deuterium pressure: 1 micron
Deuterium purity in lecture bottle: 99.999%
Grid: Spherical 0.48 mm tungsten wire
Power supply: Spellman PTV -40 kV 5 mA modified for 10 mA operation
Voltage: -23-25 kV
Current: 9-10 mA
Ballast: 200KΩ 320W
Mech Pump: 12 CFM (its rated at 12 CFM, but it's so small!) 15 microns ultimate pressure (we were able to get 0 microns)
Diffusion pump: Varian VHS-4
Gate valve: 8" CF manual
Foreline and chamber gauges: (2X) Self-heated thermistor bridge type electronic guage. Link here
Radiation detector: GMC 320 plus
Neutron detector: Bubble dosimeter
Operating time: 5 minutes
CPM near fusor: > 65,000
Operating distance: 30 feet
CPM at operating station: 20

Proof of fusion:

Operation: Video here. The fusor had been operating for five minutes prior to this video.
Bubble count: 1 bubble. Video here

It looks so lonely.

Left: Me, Right: Noah. Don't worry, it's just a 3 kV plasma.

The fusion plasma. This picture was taken remotely from a Samsung Galaxy S4.

Please consider our request to be inducted to the neutron club under the high school student listing. I will gladly respond to any questions or concerns.

Thank you all so much,
Kuba and Noah

Re: Fusion Claim- Kuba and Noah

Posted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 7:38 am
by Rich Feldman
Looking good, guys.
As a regular science fair judge, who didn't take the time to watch your video, I have to ask some obvious questions.

What is the "control" experiment? Is your measured bubble rate meaningfully greater than the rate when same detector is in the same location, at same temperature, when fusor is off or running on air? Do you think the fusor-off experiment would be a waste of time?

Do you think your chamber pressure measurements are realistic? You reported readings of 0 microns on mechanical pump alone, and 1 micron with a bright 10 mA plasma. Are those with the same gauge?

Re: Fusion Claim- Kuba and Noah

Posted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 8:11 am
by Kuba Anglin
Hi Rich,

In the FAQ for bubble detectors, Richard explains that bubble detectors do not need to be tested in a background setting prior to use.

The pressure does seem a little weird to me too. However, when I had my Hastings DV-6 gauge operational, I tested it alongside the one I am using currently. They matched. I am also dealing with a very non-cooperative power supply. The pressure has to be very low in order to generate sufficient voltage.

Noah and I actually ran two separate five minute fusion attempts, both resulting in a single bubble generated in the detector. I feel confident that we are producing neutrons. If you look at the video, you can see the white specs on the screen caused by the generated x-rays. 25 kV was the highest voltage we could get before the plasma was extinguished due to a lack of "fuel."


Re: Fusion Claim- Kuba and Noah

Posted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 1:16 pm
by Dennis P Brown
Regardless, great work and congratulations on getting this far - very few do! Your experimental approach appears sound to me.

Re: Fusion Claim- Kuba and Noah

Posted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 11:47 pm
by Rich Feldman
Once again, congratulations on your progress. I bet you aren't far from making a much more convincing claim.

>>In the FAQ for bubble detectors, Richard explains that bubble detectors do not need to be tested in a background setting prior to use.
I very respectfully disagree with that view. If you have never depressurized your bubble detector except when neutrons are expected, you don't yet "get" the scientific method. What if your specimen is one that mistakenly left the factory with a "hot pixel"? You don't want to follow the footsteps of Fleischman & Pons.

I think you have previously reported null results from that detector, in runs you chalked up as failures.
Those results are actually part of presenting a case for success.
If your report (and lab notebook, we hope) said:

Code: Select all

 Date w, time x, setup y, runtime z, result 0 bubbles
 Date i, time j, setup k, runtime l, result 1 bubble
 Date m, time n, setup o, runtime p, result 1 bubble
then the single-bubble results would be a lot more meaningful. If the older runs weren't recorded, how hard is it to depressurise your detector again, put it back next to the fusor, and see what happens? Greg Courville's successful neutron claim is a good example.

Someone else might pipe up about the statistical relevance of your data set, whose size as presented is exactly two bits. Bern Bareis's successful neutron claim blatantly flouted forum rules, but Richard H gave him a pass 'cause there was a picture with 14 bubbles!

On a more general note, I hope you learn to start out skeptical of any instrument new to your personal experience. That's advice from someone who has designed million-dollar instruments for decades. You clearly aren't skeptical enough of your pressure readings.

Re: Fusion Claim- Kuba and Noah

Posted: Sat Apr 23, 2016 12:23 am
by Kuba Anglin

I understand your concerns. I will add this bit of information to my fusion claim:

The bubble dosimeter had been tested prior to the tests that produced bubbles. I ran a deuterium plasma at 10 microns at around 7 kV (which I believed to be 40 kV) at 10 mA for 15 minutes with the bubble dosimeter de-pressurised. No bubbles appeared. I then accidentally left the detector de-pressurised for another hour until re-pressurising it after seeing no bubbles.

I don't have a high vacuum gauge, so determining the actual pressure is a little troublesome. However, I believe I have provided enough evidence to prove fusion.

If you still have concerns, please let me know.


Re: Fusion Claim- Kuba and Noah

Posted: Sat Apr 23, 2016 12:40 am
by Andrew Seltzman

I think you're a stone's throw from success. 23-25kV is just where detectable fusion starts, the rates will skyrocket when you increase towards 40kV, with unambiguous numbers of bubbles from the dosimeter. You should be able to get about 15-30bubbles in 100s at 40kV. I would estimate that you at 10-15mTorr, the plasma will probably extinguish in the 6-10mTorr range. What you need is an ion source to maintain ionization at lower pressures so you can reach higher grid voltages without the plasma extinguishing when the pressure is reduced. A filiment from a vacuum tube, or a magnetron ion source(put a magnet at the end of an electrical feed through and bias it to a few kV) should do the trick.

Re: Fusion Claim- Kuba and Noah

Posted: Sat Apr 23, 2016 5:17 pm
by Kuba Anglin
When I get home from Los Angeles next week, I will try to achieve a higher potential on the grid. Now I just need to convince my mother that a screaming Geiger counter is expected and can be safe if the right precautions are taken to protect against harmful radiation. This project has caused her much anxiety.


Re: Fusion Claim- Kuba and Noah

Posted: Sun Apr 24, 2016 5:44 am
by Richard Hull
I will chime in note that the other folks here are correct. A few more runs would nice, at higher voltages. Based on what you report, you pressure is well above 1 micron. Perhaps 10 microns or more. Knowing one's pressure to a decent degree of accuray is important. The one bubble is very convincing. However, try more runs to get a bit higher voltage.

Richard Hull

Re: Fusion Claim- Kuba and Noah

Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 1:07 am
by Kuba Anglin
Today Noah and I ran our last test. I say this because we used almost all of our deuterium. The good news is that I believe I have more than enough evidence to prove fusion. Here is what changed between the test we ran today compared to the test we ran a few days ago:

Voltage: -25-35 kV (The reactor could not sustain any voltage above 25 kV. We were able to temporarily achieve a higher voltage by pulsing the power supply every 20 seconds. The voltage would start at 35 kV and then slowly drop to 25 kV over a duration of 20 seconds. I guess I can say the average voltage was 30 kV.)

Run time: The run time of the reactor was around 5 minutes combined over an operating time of about 20 minutes.

Pressure: The pressure cannot be accurately determined due to our lack of a high vacuum gauge. My guess is between 5 and 15 microns.

Bubbles: Over the combined 5 minute run, we observed the formation of 5 bubbles. See my above post describing the control. The detector is rated at 29 b/mrem (2.7 b/uSv).

The bubble detector.

♫"Doin' the neutron dance!"♫

Fusion plasma.

This image is not of a fusion plasma, but just a deuterium plasma at a different current, voltage, and pressure.

We hope this new information provides sufficient evidence for our admission to the neutron club under the high school student listing.