Instrumentation, gauges and other items

September 12, 2013 at 3:35 pm

There are a number of different types of instruments and gauges required to provide various measurements and counts in a Fusor along with a few other things.


Instruments and gauges needed:

– Pressure gauges

– Neutron detector

– Oscilloscope

– X-ray radiation detector

– Safety: lead shielding – X-ray radiation protection

Other items required:

– Depending on the neutron detection system used, fast neutron moderation may be needed

–  Video monitoring system

– Viewing port

– Laptop


Pressure gauges (approximate cost €300-800): An accurate pressure reading system is required in the Fusor. As the pressure in the vacuum ranges from 1 torr to .00001 torr and lower, this usually comes in the form of two different gauges working together. These two gauges are nearly always a thermocouple gauge which usually work from 1 torr to .001 torr and a discharge, penning or cold cathode gauge which usually range from .01 torr to .000001 torr.


Neutron detection (approximate cost €600-1300): There are a number of different neutron detection systems that are able to be used with a Fusor, I am hoping to configure a neutron detection system consisting of 1-2 BTI bubble dosimeters along with a neutron detection tube coupled to a Nuclear Instrumentation Module (NIM) set-up.


Oscilloscope (approximate cost €150-€350): I will be purchasing an oscilloscope to get a visual display of the sine waves of the power supply’s voltage and use for data collection.


X-ray radiation detection (approximate cost €220-400): As a Fusor running at and above 35kv produces a small amount of potentially harmful X-ray radiation, shielding and detection is required.  Detection is carried out through the use of two or three small pen dosimeters in the range of 100-200 mrem and an X-ray scintillation detector.


Lead shielding/X-ray radiation protection (approximate cost €10-40): As mentioned above, a Fusor can produce harmful X-ray radiation, to protect against this, a 4-6mm thick lead shield is used, normally it is acquired in the form of lead sheets and cut and soldered to provide a core of protection from the Fusor.


Fast neutron moderation (approximate cost €60-120): If a thermal neutron detection system is used (BF3, He3 or B10 tube), fast neutron moderation is required to slow the fast neutrons that the fusor emits, though water can be used, the handiest material is borated paraffin or another type of hydrogen rich material that is easy to mould to fit around the detection area.


Video monitoring system (approximate cost €40-80): As the Fusor emits both fast neutron and X-ray radiation, it is not recommended to stand close to it, especially watching through a viewing port as the radiation emitted can damage the eyes. So, a video camera is placed up against the viewing port and linked to a TV or computer monitor to provide a constant image of the inner grid.


Viewing port (approximate cost €50-100): A viewing port is nearly always included in a Fusor to see what is happening inside, the viewing port is always a conflat fitting window that is usually about 70mm squared in size. Leaded glass can then be placed over if personal viewing is wanted rather than through a video monitoring system but is not recommended.


Laptop (approximate cost €500-800): I will need a computer system to keep track of the different data collected from the Fusor.


Miscellaneous items (€300-500): I will keep some funds in reserve for unexpected items, repairs, transport and so on.