Search for compact IEC systems traversing disciplines

“Compact Inertial Electrostatic Confinement D-D Fusion Neutron Generator” is an imbuing research paper co-authored and published by Dr Somesh Vinayak Tewari, Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (EEE), SRM University – AP, in the scientific journal, Annals of Nuclear Energy.

This paper is part of an interdisciplinary work leveraging the areas of both electrical engineering and physics. Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) Systems are simple, compact and operate on high voltage discharge in Deuterium- Deuterium (D-D)/ Deuterium-Tritium (D-T) gases between concentric grids for neutron generation. Such systems find considerable applications in the detection of explosives and illicit materials, radiography, tomography, and neutron well logging. The IEC system cathode temperature is measured with a Fibre Bragg Grating (FBG) during the measurement of neutrons from the system. FBG is optical fibre sensors that can be used for sensing temperature by recording the Bragg wavelength shift. The advantage of such measurements is that they can be used in environments such as electric arcs and plasmas, chemical and nuclear zones unaffected by electromagnetic fields such that the signals can be monitored remotely.

The production of neutron fluxes for the above-mentioned applications is through radioisotopes, accelerators, or nuclear reactors with the inherent nature of their complexity, hazards, and problem of residual radioactivity. Additionally, such systems require a considerable amount of shielding and Dr Tewari puts forth such factors that prompt further research in the area of the development of much simpler compact IEC systems.

The said research project has been carried out under the scheme of “Mentoring of Engineering Teacher by an INAE Fellow”, financially supported by the Indian National Academy of Engineering. The work goes forward in close collaboration with Pulsed Power & Electromagnetic Division, Beam Technology Development Group, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC)-Vishakhapatnam.

The future projects of Dr Tewari involve working on simulations related to the compact IEC for study, analysis, optimization of different parameters of an IEC system and related experimentation in collaboration with BARC.

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