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Compact Dense Plasma Focus Device for High Flux Neutron Generation

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0013758
Agency Tracking Number: 218180
Amount: $149,720.18
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 05a
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0001227
Solicitation Year: 2015
Award Year: 2015
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2015-06-08
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2016-03-07
Small Business Information
1717 Stewart Street
Santa Monica, CA 90404-4021
United States
DUNS: 140789137
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Mark Harrison
 (310) 822-5845
Business Contact
 Alex Murokh
Title: Dr.
Phone: (310) 822-5845
Research Institution

The Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation and Development is seeking portable, high-flux, deuterium-deuterium D-D) neutron sources for use in interrogating shielded and unshielded radioactive materials. Neutron sources are used to identify nuclear and other illicit materials and are thus a critical technology in transport safety, anti-terrorism, and nuclear non-proliferation. Current neutron sources are mostly limited to stationary installations, which is a significant restriction to the utility of neutron radiography and interrogation techniques. Thus, new concepts for compact and man-portable neutron sources are sought. To this end, RadiaBeam Technologies proposes to develop and manufacture a miniature Dense Plasma Focus DPF) array device to produce neutrons in a compact, energy-efficient package. The miniaturization will be aided by MEMS manufacturing, while the neutron flux will be maximized through the use of higher gas pressures, via introduction of the plasma piston technique, and through the exploitation of the collective ionization regime, to enhance plasma density. A micro-DPF array will be inexpensive, easily replaceable, and user-friendly. In Phase I, with cooperation from UCLA, the micro-DPF numerical model will be developed, and optimized for maximized neutron production and power efficiency, while minimizing damage to the device and plasma instabilities. In parallel, the fast pulse switcher will be designed, built, and tested.

The goal of this project is to produce a smaller, more efficient, mass-produced, portable neutron source for deploying into the field for nuclear inspection. With the development of this device, the range of where neutron-based scanning can be employed will vastly increase.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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