Meet Mr Fusion

by wjw on July 10, 2009

DARPA’s attempt to produce a microchip-sized fusion reactor has dropped out of the budget.

Chip-scale integration offers precise, micro actuators and high electric field generation at modest power levels that will enable several order of magnitude decreases in the volume needed to accelerate the ions. Furthermore, thermal isolation techniques will enable high efficiency beam to power converters, perhaps making chipscale self-sustained fusion possible.

Or so the project was described in 2009’s budget. So why was the project dropped? Guesses as follows:

(1) The project failed. (DARPA hasn’t actually said this, however.)
(2) The project was a success, and now it’s gone commercial.
(3) The project was a success, and now it’s classified.

Personally I’m looking forward to my fusion-powered laptop and my fusion-powered phone, which can be turned into nuclear grenades in the event of a terrorist attack.

Ralf the Dog July 10, 2009 at 6:31 am

How to use your cell phone in an emergency.

1. Dial 911,

2. Pull pin.

3. Throw cell phone (This part is important.)

4. Duck.

How about a fusion powered Ford?

Charlie Stross July 10, 2009 at 10:06 pm

A point worth noting:

1. Fusion (D + T variety) produces neutrons

2. Neutrons plus U238 -> Np239 -> Pu239

3. Profit!!! (Er, not exactly.)

The point is, a working Mr Fusion is also a groovy neutron source and therefore a nuclear proliferation threat. So if you want a conspiracy theory about cheap compact fusion reactors being suppressed …

Urban July 11, 2009 at 6:21 am

I was surprised to see the word "self-sustained" in there. Everyone knows that's always 20 years in the future.

Desktop fusion is possible, so at first I thought this was just something similar, but smaller to put in energy and get a few neutrons out. or

I'm still trying to think of when such a small fusion power source would be better than what exists now, if only used for power production.

Morgan July 12, 2009 at 6:21 pm

I'm with ya. I'd love to see fusion batteries for a lot of our gadgets. :*)

Ralf the Dog July 14, 2009 at 5:44 am

I just spotted where this story was posted. I am also more than a bit shocked that you would post a link to a story in Wired.

After effects from the Swine Flu?

Is it true they are starting a new magazine called Metropolitan?

dubjay July 15, 2009 at 2:36 am

I feel okay with posting a link to one of Wired's blogs, since all they do is lose money.

Of course Wired has different management now, and all the folks who gave me such grief with their stupid, retarded policies have gone on to other things, like running New Age web sites.

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