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Sonofusion

M. Stokmaier

Welcome to the perhaps most unconventional research topic of the Institute for Nuclear and Energy Technologies: Sonofusion or Bubble Fusion.


The question is: could a setup as simple as an ultrasonic eyeglass cleaner enable table-top nuclear fusion?

But let's rephrase that question in more scientific terms: could there be thermonuclear fusion inside a cavitation bubble at the end of its life-cycle, when it implodes, when all the contained vapors are highly compressed and heated up? Could the compressed vapors possibly become hot and dense enough as to form a plasma capable of allowing Deuterium-Deuterium fusion reactions? This has been a controversial question since the publication of this [1] article in Nature in 2002. But nowadays probably most of the scientific community would answer the questions above with "no". We (and some other folks, [2,3,4]) would add: Well, not so quick! In our consideration, there might still be some space for improvement in the way we ask mother nature as scientists whether sonofusion is achievable with today's technology. On this website you will find the basics of sonofusion experiments including a little outline of the controversy sparked off in 2002, a page with our thoughts on the matter, and some documentation on our computational research focussing on the vibration behavior of the different sorts of resonating chambers you can use for producing clouds of cavitation bubbles; this includes a collection of useful (at least for me so far) Ansys APDL macros and some Python scripts both for postprocessing/plotting and for an evolutionary algorithm for design optimization.

Literature:

[1] Taleyarkhan, R. P., West, C. D., Cho, J. S., Lahey, R. T. Jr., Nigmatulin, R. I., Block, R. C. "Evidence for nuclear emission during acoustic cavitation." Science 295 (2002): 1868.

[2] Nigmatulin, R. I., Akhatov, I. S., Topolikov, A. S., Bolotnova, R. K., Vakhitov, N. K., Lahey, R. T. Jr., Taleyarkhan, R. P. "Theory of supercompression of vapor bubbles and nanoscale thermonuclear fusion." Physics of fluids 17 (2005): 107106-1.

[3] D.J. Flannigan and K.S. Suslick, "Inertially confined plasma in an imploding bubble", Nature Physics 6 (2010): 598-601.

[4] A. Bass, S.J. Ruuth, C. Camara, B. Merriman, and S. Putterman, "Molecular dynamics of extreme mass segregation in a rapidly collapsing bubble", PRL 10 (2008): 234301.