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Plasma Containment Technology

The applications for compact, high flux neutron generators are many—the market has been estimated at $25 billion. Scientists at Utah State University have developed a new theory of toroidal magnetic confinement and heating, which is expected to enhance the production of neutrons through fusion of hydrogen isotopes using a novel plasma containment device. The device should be sufficiently compact and powerful to make possible real-life applications that were only, until recently, dreamed of.
Features and Benefits
  • Airport luggage/cargo scanning
  • Neutron radiography
  • Oil well logging
  • Unexploded mine detection
  • Cancer diagnosis/therapy
  • Underground water monitoring
  • Energy generation
  • Radioisotope production in hospitals for medical imaging
  • Average neutron flux from 102 to 107 higher than existing generators, allowing for practical applications
  • Small dimensions (20cm x 20cm x 10cm) for ease in transportation and storage
  • Can be electronically controlled (off/on) for safe use
  • Plasma stability minimizes heat loss and increases neutron output for higher efficiencies
A new plasma containment state, which might be termed an electric/magnetic hybrid, was obtained by minimizing the total energy of hot plasma. Based on this discovery, a fusion device was invented which involves heavy hydrogen gas being introduced into a toroidal vessel with various magnetic coils attached. Magnetic fields from these coils constrain the plasma and heat it. After being heated to a moderately high temperature, the plasma beam compresses to successively smaller radii, which will raise the temperature to even higher values and cause the hydrogen to fuse.
Development Stage
The toroidal magnetic confinement and heating theory has been published in the leading physics journal, Physical Review Letters. USU is currently modifying a tokamak to achieve the conditions necessary to prove the new plasma confinement state.
U.S. and Foreign Patents Pending
Ray DeVito
Technology Commercialization Office
(435) 797-9615
Reference: W9320