Fusion Message Board

In this space, visitors are invited to post any comments, questions, or skeptical observations about Philo T. Farnsworth's contributions to the field of Nuclear Fusion research.

Subject: Inexpensive neutron source
Date: Oct 25, 4:25 pm
Poster: Jones Beene

On Oct 25, 4:25 pm, Jones Beene wrote:

Here is an easy experiment for any fusorite wannabe who is not yet convinced of the ease with which neutrons can be generated with even modest equipment. It is not a fusor, of course, but it may lead the clever experimentalist (who needs only a neutron source) to some interesting results.

The key to minimizing expenses is find a deuterium-filled short arc lamp. I found mine on ebay last month for less than $15 (but it is the only one I have ever seen there on auction). These lamps are used for illumination purposes in certain microscopes and other test equipment (because of their wavelength properties). I understand that there are several suppliers including Spectra-Physics and Varian and I believe the new price is around $500. Mine is not marked clearly as to manufacturer but it is likely to be Perkin-Elmer.

These are intended to be used at several amps of current and modest voltage (~150 watts total power), but will tolerate high voltage and low current (at least it has remained intact so far). Since neutron output is largely a function of current, once the voltage threshold has been reached, you will not get a super high flux - but I am getting an impressive several hundred times background levels (measured with a BF detector).

More fun than a Sharper Image plasma globe!