Chapter 379: Greater Transmission Power!
Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
There wasnt much time left for the He3 project team.
Everyone was racing against the clock.
Finally, due to everyones constant effort, a rough prototype was completed.
The prototype consisted of two parts; one part was an atomic gun used to accelerate and emit helium atoms, and the other was a target material installed in the vacuum chamber for receiving helium-3 atoms. There were also various computers and sensor components.
As for why this was a rough prototype
It was because almost all of the parts were pieced together.
The acceleration track path of the atomic gun was taken from an old particle accelerator from the Argonne National Laboratory. The vacuum chamber used to hold the plasma was designed by the PPPL when they were working on the stellarator.
This entire system could heat plasma up to 7,000 degrees, which was a long way from the high temperature of 100 million degrees. The electromagnetic field was also an order of magnitude below the stellarators, which was 10T.
However, it was enough.
Every experiment would start with a proof of its feasibility. They didnt have to complete nuclear fusion in the vacuum chamber, and they didnt need a high density of the plasma.
They only had to successfully collect data from the plasma and analyze the data to get an observation.
Then, they just had to integrate this observation device on the stellarator.
In fact, Lu Zhous original idea was to obtain the old stellarator from the WEGA experiment group.
But it was only an idea. Professor Lazerson told him that their stellarator couldnt be bought with money.
All in all, the prototype was complete!
The particle accelerator path was the atomic guns barrel, while the target material for the high energy helium-3 particles was a tungsten-titanium alloy. Behind the target material were the sensitive probes that would collect the data of the impact.
Although the engineering team encountered many problems, it was generally a smooth ride up to this point.
Some final adjustments were done, and Professor Lazerson eagerly announced the start of the first experiment.
The researchers in the laboratory spent countless days and nights working on this project. They needed a successful experiment to boost their morale.
Not everything went as smooth as expected.
The second the helium-3 atom was injected into the plasma, the atom quickly rose to a high temperature and collided with the orbit wall. The detector connected to the other side of the target material collected electromagnetic wave data of the helium-3 atom.
God seemed to have played a joke on the researchers. The helium-3 shot from the atomic gun didnt travel through the plasma as expected.
It didnt hit the target material.
Obviously, they successfully fired the atom bullet.
However, they werent able to recover the bullet.
The first experiment failed
The 21st experiment was over.
The laboratory was silent.
The atom probe mounted behind the target material still didnt detect the signal emitted from the helium-3 impact.
The experiment was facing their biggest bottleneck yet.
If the emitted atom couldnt be collected, then the experiment would be meaningless.
The first to break the silence was a nuclear fusion engineer.
He said, Maybe the probe isnt sensitive enough? Maybe the impact happened, and we just didnt detect it.
This was a possibility. If the collision signal was too weak, it might have been ignored by the detector.
Impossible, a plasma theoretical physicist said. He then added, The electromagnetic wave has a unique shape, and the only possible scenario is the helium-3 atom deviating from the orbit path You should know this.
The plasma physicist was looking at Lu Zhou.
Lu Zhou didnt say anything; he only looked down and nodded.
Lu Zhou could tell from the electromagnetic spectrum image that the helium 3 atom didnt penetrate the plasma. Instead, it disappeared inside the plasma particles.
The atom might have been confined in the plasma electromagnetic field, but the orbit path was changed due to the collisions
If a particle that entered a chaotic system could not be observed, then it would become a part of the chaotic system. Even if it still existed, it would be considered as missing in the physics sense.
The research seemed to reach a dead-end
This idea might not work at all, Professor Lazerson said as he took off his safety helmet and looked at the computer screen. He then looked at Lu Zhou and said, The plasma used in the experiment was only 7,000 degrees, its far from the stellarators plasma density
Professor Lazersons intentions were clear.
Even though the temperature was greatly decreased, the helium-3 particle still didnt penetrate the plasma. There was a doubt that the helium-3 particle wouldnt be able to penetrate the hundreds of millions degree plasma in the stellarator.
Lu Zhou looked at the computer screen, and suddenly, he said, We need an atomic gun with a greater transmission power!
Yes, we need a larger atomic gun. It would be nice to get the Swiss Hadron Collider as an acceleration module and put our helium-3 atom on a rocket and make it pierce through all of the particles, Professor Lazerson said. He then shook his head and added, You know thats not possible.
Dont exaggerate so much, Lu Zhou shook his head and said, I did the calculations, and we only need to increase the electromagnetic field strength of the atomic gun to 1T. Then, in theory, the helium-3 particles will be able to penetrate the plasma.
Lu Zhou didnt rigorously calculate this number; it was a rough estimate based on experience.
They might not need 1T, but 1T was definitely enough.
This is ridiculous! The stellarator only has a magnetic field strength of 10T! Professor Lazerson couldnt help but say, Are you serious, do you mathematics people have an idea of numbers? Do you know how expensive superconducting materials are?
This was still a problem of funding.
Although the PPPL laboratory was powerful, its annual funding was only US$40 million.
This money was split between many projects, and the He3 project only had US$4 million of funding.
They used recycled parts and equipment to save money.
After all, every experiment they ran was burning money.
Professor Lazerson suddenly had an impulsive thought.
Maybe working with Lu Zhou is a bad idea.
The engineers in the laboratory were silent; they didnt want to anger Professor Lazerson anymore.
Lu Zhous request was ridiculous; it was like a rich person telling a homeless person to buy a house to solve all their problems.
Lu Zhou didnt say anything. Instead, he quietly waited for Lazerson to finish his words.
He then looked at Professor Lazerson before he coughed and said slowly, What if I can solve the funding problem?