Studying performance of polarized 3He gas in polymer pellets, a first step towards spin-polarized thermonuclear fusion

Nuclear; Nuclear Engineering

The energy output of a fusion reactor can be increased by using spin-polarized fuels. We will study performance of polarized 3He gas in pellets as a possible method of fuel delivery for reactors.

Based on the principle of nuclear physics reactions, the reaction cross section of a fusion process can be boosted 50% if fully spin-polarized fuels (such as deuterium, tritium, or helium-3) are used.  However, spin-polarized fusion has never been studied because of lack or proper delivery methods of polarized fuel into reactors.  In this project we propose to study the performance of polarized 3He gas in polymer pellets.  Such pellets are routinely used to deliver fuel into Tokamak reactors, but their performance of holding polarized material has never been tested.  We will fill polymer pellets with polarized 3He gas from existing polarizers and study their performance inside an MRI scanner.

I am willing to self-fund my token, Xiaochao Zheng

Desired outcomes

We hope to obtain data on:

1) how much of spin polarization is retained after 3He gas permeates into the pellet?

2) how long can such polarization last after 3He gas permeates into the pellet?

3) How do we maximize the polarization of 3He gas during the permeation process?