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Dense Plasma Focus


The Physical Processes Investigation of the Creation of Dense Plasma Focus (MPF) Having the Neutron Yield with Low Stored Energy of Power Supply and the Construct the Compact Pulsed Neutron Generators on its Basis

Tech Area / Field

  • INS-OTH/Other/Instrumentation

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Kondratenkov Yu B

Leading Institute
All-Russian Research Institute of Automatics, Russia, Moscow

Supporting institutes

  • FIAN Lebedev, Russia, Moscow\nVNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov


  • Università di Ferrara, Italy, Ferrara

Project summary

The purpose of the work is to investigate the physical processes and the scaling laws of the creation of Dense Plasma Focus (MPF) with the decrease of the stored energy of discharges, the design of the scientific technical base of the constructing and the technology of production sealed chambers of the Dense Plasma Focus device (MPF) and miniature pulsed current generators, and to create the compact pulsed neutron generators on its basis.

Fundamental scientific researches of DPF are carried out, basically, in two directions: a study of prospects of the DPF installations as a thermonuclear fusion reactor prototype and the experimental study of physics of the dense hot plasma.

Alongside with the basic scientific researches, DPF finds an application as a powerful source of hard radiation in material science, in study of the action of hard radiation onto the electronics elements and so on.

The DPF installations much outstrip the sources used in industry (of the type of accelerator tubes) both by its absolute neutron yield per pulse and by intensity. However, the most essential parameters of the DPF device differing it from other sources consist of a simplicity of its design (and, hence, its rather low cost), the higher efficiency, and the much smaller dimensions under the same neutron pulse parameters in comparison with the accelerator or the laser based pulsed neutron sources.

The practical usage of radiation sources based on MPF devices is limited the fact that MPF installations which are, as a rule, stationery, have sufficient sizes and weights, and need a long time for work preparation and reaching the operation mode. That's why the design and production of miniature pulsed radiation sources on the basis of the Dense Plasma Focus device (MPF) are very actual and perspective.

Presented Project may be considered as an initial phase of work devoted on the design of radiation sources based on MPF. The fulfillment of this Project allows realizing the usage such unique neutron sources in science, technical and medicine applications, geophysics and so on.

The carrying out the Project is supposed to investigate the physical phenomena accompanied the dynamical Z-pinch in miniature MPF chambers with the volume less than 10 cubic cm and the stored energy in power supplier 300 J and less. The initial phase of the discharges in MPF chambers, the plasma current sheath dynamics, and the neutron radiation parameters of MPF will be studied. These investigations allow finding the scaling laws of MPF characteristics parameters at MPF operations in small energy regimes of power suppliers.

The investigation results will be used at the development of design and technology of sealed miniature MPF chambers and portable pulsed current generators.

The Project is supposed to finish by the manufacturing and investigation of laboratory samples of the portable pulsed neutron generators based on MPF devices.

Creation of a small-sized source based on the MPF device and its industrial production will let to equip with them small physical laboratories of research and educational institutes. In fact the sources of plasma with parameters close to thermonuclear ones have now begun widely to be used in a science, engineering and industry. In this tern in many higher schools there were the faculties and specializations in hysics of hot plasma. The preparation of the experts in this field demands for them to be familiar with and purchase of practical skill on a work with the thermonuclear plasma.

Alongside with abovementioned the plasma focus in its miniature variant is a unique type of the electro-discharged sources of neutron radiation which is able to provide the formation of a powerful pulse of neutrons for one flash with the duration in a range of nanoseconds. Besides in comparison with isotope-based neutron sources it has a unique spectrum with a half-width of a line less than 0.1 of an average energy (2.45 or 14.1 MeV). This characteristic property of the MPF devices opens large prospects in use of a compact MPF devices along a whole line of kinds of human activity: in medicine (the production of shortly living isotopes in clinic), in mechanical engineering (dynamic defectoscopy, characterization of thick objects), in airport and police services (search for an explosives and drugs) and others.

The results of the works under the given project will be used in already existing bilateral cooperation of ARRIA, LPI and RFNC-ARRIEP with the leading laboratories of Poland, Italy, Germany and other countries and within the activity in the framework of the created now under aegis of UNESCO the International Center for Dense Magnetized Plasmas in which more than 20 leading laboratories of different countries (France, USA, England, Argentina, Italy and other) participate.


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