Construction and Characterization of a Farnsworth-Hirsch Fusor

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Love, Ian
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Houghton College
A table-top Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) Fusion device was constructed at Houghton College to explore the properties of plasmas and the nuclear reactions that may be induced in this device. A spherical stainless steel wire grid 7.0 cm in diameter mounted centrally in the cylindrical 0.3 m diameter vacuum vessel was raised to nearly 30 kV. A grounded spherical wire grid 20.3 cm in diameter surrounded the charged sphere. An air-cooled oil diffusion pump and a mechanical forepump evacuated the chamber to approximately 10?6 Torr. An ion source gas was leaked into the chamber raising the pressure to 1×10?3 to 1×10?4 Torr. The voltage across the inner grid, the current through the high voltage circuit, the chamber pressure, and the radiation were measured over the course of the experiment. The operation of this device with air as the ion source gas produced x-rays which, passing through a single layer Mylar (BoPET) foil window, were in excess of 400 mR/hr at 0.6 meters from the aperture.
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