NASA SBIR 00-1 SOLICITATION

FORM 9B - PROJECT SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER 00-1 03.02-8001 (Chron: 002000 )
PROJECT TITLE
A Proton Collimator for IEC Fusion Propulsion



TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
The proposed research will study and develop an efficient method for directed energy extraction from an Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) fusion plant, enabling efficient space propulsion. The concept proposed would collect and collimate the high-energy fusion ions from the IEC using a unique system of magnetic fields. This beam of high-energy particles could be coupled to a direct energy converter ro produce electrical output, or be focused onto a target, directly forming a plasma exhaust. To enable early laboratory studies of the concept, an experiment is proposed using electrons to simulate fusion products, e.g. 14-MeV protons from D-He3 fusion. The approach proposed is to design an initial experimental collimator during Phase I. This experiment would utilize a low energy electron gun source to simulate fusion products. This Phase I design study would serve as the basis for the construction and testing of the electron collimator during Phase II. It is estimated that such an experiment could be done with a small fraction of the money required to build the full-scale proton collimator. Yet it would firmly establish the physics and engineering necessary to build an integrated IEC-proton collimator in Phase III.



POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
The primary commercial application for this invention would be advanced spacecraft propulsion. Both operation modes considered are useful: the evaporating target thruster can give significant thrust to a spaceship, while the direct energy converter version can be used for generation of electricity for other type of thruster or other systems within the spacecraft. Direct exhaust of protons can also be considered as a possible thrust alternative for high-impulse low-thrust spacecraft.

The high-energy proton collimator can also find commercial market in all the applications that currently require particle accelerators. Among this numerous applications, the following can be mentioned:
Manufacture of medical isotopes
Proton-based radiotherapies
Material characterization techniques (RBS, PIXE)
Industrial applications
Spallation sources
Radioactive waste transmutation and elimination



NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Hiromu Momota
NPL Associates
912 W. Armory
Champaign , IL   61821 - 4537



NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
NPL Associates
912 W. Armory Ave
Champaign , IL   61821 - 4537