Nuclear fusion: achieved

Posted by
On November 26, 2014

In May, three Missouri S&T physics seniors achieved nuclear fusion of deuterium into helium as part of the final project in their senior research laboratory class. This nuclear fusion reaction is the same process as the one that powers the sun.

Brock Ebert, Sheldon Harper and Jaykob Maser constructed an inertial electrostatic confinement where two deuterium, a type of hydrogen that has an extra neutron attached to the nucleus, were heated to the point that their nuclei overcame electrical repulsion, collided and fused. The collision bound them together to form a new nucleus of helium and a stray neutron.

Working under the supervision of Greg Story, associate professor of physics, the students confirmed that they had achieved fusion by detecting the production of the neutrons. Their work followed a semester-long research project in collaboration with the nuclear engineering department and the Missouri S&T Nuclear Reactor.

“I never thought it would happen because the experiment is so complicated,” says Story. “It is an incredible accomplishment for undergraduate students who built their apparatus entirely on their own. Their next goal is to try to optimize the process by adjusting things like the pressure of the gas in the plasma.”

mm
Posted by

On November 26, 2014. Posted in Around the Puck, Fall/Winter 2014, News, Research

Recent Posts

Celebrating 150 Years

Celebrating 150 Years

From hardscrabble, “country academy” roots, how we became a global research university Rolla in [...]
Innovation, the Rolla way

Innovation, the Rolla way

Since our founding, S&T and innovation have been tightly connected. From advances in materials,[...]
Keeping history alive

Keeping history alive

Several authors have written history books about S&T, but no tome can contain all the informati[...]
New book chronicles university's history

New book chronicles university's history

Larry Gragg, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor emeritus of history and political science, [...]
What lies ahead for S&T's next 150 years?

What lies ahead for S&T's next 150 years?

 As Missouri S&T launches its 150th anniversary celebration, the world continues to recove[...]