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Nuclear fusion has the potential to meet the energy needs of our civilization for centuries to come and does not produce harmful greenhouse gasses, take up large chunks of land, or produce long-lasting radioactive waste. A fusion reaction can be readily demonstrated in a confinement scheme known as inertial electrostatic confinement (IEC) fusion. In this work, an IEC devise is proposed that can preform a study of how the fusion rate in an IEC depends on input grid voltage. A 2D simulation code is written in python to model the device and predict the fusion response toinputtedgrid voltage. The simulation is based on theparticle-in-cell (PIC) method for modeling plasmas. The fusion reaction was modeled in the simulation by applying the 5-parameter-fitting method for nuclear fusion cross sections. A formula for the probability of a fusion reaction occurring per simulated particle path length is proposed based on physical and numerical parameters. The simulation demonstrates that as the cathode grid voltage is increased, the fusion rate occurring in the device raises in the samemanner as several key IEC experiments.
Jacob van de Lindt is a senior in Physics at OSU. His thesis work is advised by Prof. Brian Woods of Nuclear Engineering.