I am not a theoretical physicist, but it seems to me that the central issue with this machine is
whether the results will scale up, and it they will scale up in a linear or logarithmic manner.
Critics has said that this approach will always require more energy than it produces. Proponents
has maintained the output will increase at a greater rate than the inputs.
No one is sure because no one has ever gone down this road or gotten these kinds of results before.
Interesting, scaling is certainly key but I’m having a having a hard time meshing these last few updates into a picture of how much progress has been made. Is their some way in which the results can be graphed along side earlier results and with comparisons to other projects (ITER & NIF) along with a ‘goal’ point to give a more visual sense of the progress?
Impaler wrote: Is their some way in which the results can be graphed along side earlier results and with comparisons to other projects (ITER & NIF) along with a ‘goal’ point to give a more visual sense of the progress?
The typical relationship is a ratio of fusion energy to energy required to drive the fusion events. Based upon the statement by LPP, eight 9 microfarad capacitors were used at a charge voltage of 40 kV or 57.6 kJ. The D-D fusion yield would be ~1 J with a D-D yield of about 1E12 neutrons. This means the conversion efficiency from the cap bank to fusion is 0.001%. JET has reported a physics conversion ratio of 70%. However, this neglects the pumps, magnets and other auxiliary systems that are necessary for fusion to take place. It only takes into account the energy to heat the plasma. In reality, I would guess 25% is a better number but don’t hold me to that. NIF on the other hand is likely to show gain, i.e. conversion greater than 100% in the next few months. However, it will never be a fusion power system. NIF has one purpose despite the advertising and it is NOT to make electricity.
This is a reasonable comparison, but one has to ask about goals. My personal opinion is 3MA is too small to demonstrate a fusion gain. However, the critical physics of a fusion burn in a pulse power system with p-11B might be demonstrated. One should not underestimate the value of this information. It would be a huge advance for fusion in general.