Department Library


Seth Price (Capstone, June 2018, Advisor: John Ellsworth )


The design and construction of a Wien Velocity Filter to be used in the BYU Physics Department to help with thin film, and low energy nuclear reaction experiments. Designed as an attachment to the school’s 400KeV particle accelerator. Built specifically to filter Hydrogen and Deuterium ions from a high energy ion beam. Design properties of the Wien Filter are shown. The Characterization of ceramic magnets and their fields along with the electric fields are presented. The attachment and programming of a Tektronix programmable power supply and communication of commands through MATLAB.


Joe Hall (Senior Thesis, August 2017, Advisor: John Ellsworth )


The role of electron screening in condensed matter mediated nuclear fusion has been studied for decades. Nevertheless, the measured enhancements of the nuclear cross section are consistently greater than theoretical predictions, up to twice as large. We suspect that quantum fluctuations may cause this discrepancy. Described here is a vacuum system I have built to test this theory. This system enables target materials to be prepared and tested without exposing them to atmosphere. With the completion of this system, the future work will be to begin experimenting on materials to test our hypothesis.


Alec Raymond (Senior Thesis, April 2016, Advisor: John Ellsworth )


We are interested in improving neutron spectrometric capabilities in the energy range of 0.1 to 3 MeV. Current neutron spectrometry technologies do not have good energy resolution in this energy range without the use of either a complicated or a multiple-detector setup. We have developed a stand-alone detector with improved features in this energy range. The detector uses Li6Gd(BO3)3 : Ce crystal in a thin slab of polyvinyl toluene scintillator for capture-gated neutron detection and a second thin slab of solid plastic scintillator for proton recoil detection. Comparisons of proton recoil pulse area to measured time-of-flight data and theoretical neutron energy spectra indicate a useful correlation with neutron energy. The spectrometer we have developed functions as an initial prototype.

KaeCee Terry (Senior Thesis, April 2016, Advisor: John Ellsworth )


A lithium gadolinium borate capture-gated neutron detector was used, in conjunction with time of flight techniques, to determine if paired neutrons are observable within a single detector. Data was verified by analyzing the time delays between detectors, quantifying room return rates, comparing detection rates to statistical probabilities and calculating expected neutron flux. Potentially paired neutrons were detected by our system. Future work is discussed, including improvements to code and source configurations, as well as possible experiments to be conducted.


Matthew Nerdin (Capstone, May 2007, Advisor: John Ellsworth )


Fusion of small nuclei creates most of the energy found in stars. Laboratory Nuclear Astrophysics is the study of such reactions in the laboratory. Numerous beam and foil experiments have been undertaken in an effort to explore fusion enhanced by condensed matter. These experiments have produced substantial evidence for the catalyzing effects of metals as well as variations in the effectiveness of different types of metal. Current focus is on the construction of a low energy accelerator to study the laboratory nuclear astrophysics reactions 6Li(d,α)α and 7Li(d,α)n. This experiment is unique in that it reverses the usual technique by bombarding deuterated metallic targets with heavier ions rather than with deuterons. We have constructed a solid ion source for an accelerator and have done some testing. We were able to measure sporadic ion currents peaking at about 1500nA. Some improvements are suggested.

Shannon R. Walch (Honors Thesis, March 2007, Advisor: John Ellsworth )


Metal-catalyzed fusion, also called laboratory nuclear astrophysics, is the study of the interactions of deuterium and metals. Previous experiments in this field have focused primarily on the interactions of deuterium in metal lattices. The Alternate Energy Research Group at BYU decided to build a z-pinch device to explore the interactions of deuterium in metal plasmas. This paper describes the design and construction of a z-pinch device to be used for these experiments. A brief history of metal-catalyzed fusion and of the use of z-pinch devices in fusion experiments is included. Our reasons for choosing a z-pinch device is discussed, and our goals for the apparatus and the planned experiments. The designs and construction of the device are included, as well as those for accompanying voltage and current sensors. Our z-pinch has successfully blown up 25 micron copper wires at voltages of approximately 18 kV. Further calibration of our current sensor is required before accurate measurement of the current through the exploding wire is made. We plan to continue refining our apparatus and set up a neutron detector so that we may begin measuring the neutrons emitted from the explosion of deuterium-loaded wires for possible enhancements.


Michael Johnson (Capstone, April 2006, Advisor: John Ellsworth )


Applications such as x-ray microscopy and lithography need x-ray sources that have well-defined emission spectra. A 533 nm beam from a frequency doubled 1064 nm laser strikes a solid target creates a plasma with emissions in the soft x-ray range. A von Hamos spectrometer using a cylindrically bent mica crystal and a linear CCD array detector is used to monitor the x-ray emission spectrum. The spectrometer is calibrated for wavelength using a Mg spectrum with known characteristic lines. The intensity scale is calibrated using a pin diode of known calibration.