The basic reasons for this are the time it has taken to resolve some of the key engineering issues, such as the switches, and the small size of our staff, ultimately imposed by LPP’s finances. If we look at our progress as measured by number of shots, instead of by number of months, our research has been progressing about as planned. We originally calculated that we would need 2,000-2,500 shots to complete the research program from where we were in January 2011. During 2011, we only fired FF-1 600 times, due to the time needed for various technical upgrades, and our progress was actually greater than we had anticipated for that number of shots.
Looking forward, we expect in the coming year to achieve the following major goals:
1. Demonstrating the theoretically predicted fusion yield with pure deuterium.
2. Showing higher fusion yield with heavier gas mixtures.
3. Achieving reliable performance at still higher fill pressures.
4. Boosting yield even further with shorter electrodes, which allow higher gas densities.
5. Achieving giga-gauss magnetic fields in the plasmoids.
6. Demonstrating the quantum magnetic field effect’s reduction in X-ray cooling
7. Demonstrating scientific feasibility with pB11 fuel.
Achieving these goals depends on further upgrades to FF-1, including an even faster set of switches under design by a leading commercial supplier and, critically, obtaining funds to hire at least two more full-time staff.