DTRA (Defense Threat Reduction Agency) awarded a SBIR Phase I contract to investigate commercial potential of super-intense x-ray generation with MIMS (Metastable Innershell Molecular State) in the areas from semiconductor lithography to x-ray laser.
Scaling up of soft x-ray generation with MIMS will be performed with Los Alamos National Lab under a CRADA arrangement. MIMS was originally discovered by Dr. Bae and his colleagues at the Brookhaven National Lab in 1994. MIMS is a high-energy transient molecular quantum state (similar to excimers) formed by inner-shell electrons during extremely high-pressure (over 100 million atmospheric pressure, or 10 Tera-Pascal) compression of matter to form High Energy Density Materials (HEDM) and Warm Dense Matter (WDM), that can be found in stars and inner cores of large planets, such as Jupiter or Saturn.
Nextbigfuture covered the metastable innershell molecular state work back in 2009. It has the potential to make super explosives. It could be used to replace the nuclear fission trigger of a nuclear fusion bomb. If this was done there would be very little nuclear fallout.
There is a lot of interesting material in his advanced deuterium rocket, but this will focus on the Appendix where he considers the possibility of replacing the nuclear fission trigger of a nuclear fusion bomb with an alternative. It is the nuclear fission bomb part of a nuclear bomb that produces the nuclear fallout.
Winterberg is working with the Bae Institute on Metastable innershell molecular state (MIMS). MIMS is also the basis of the conjectured super non-nuclear explosive. The Bae institute indicates that they have experimentally confirmed MIMS. Winterbergs theory is that MIMS can make superexplosives along with high x-ray production as the work with the Bae institute is showing.
Bae Institute proposes in a recent paper that the existence of Metastable innershell molecular state (MIMS) was experimentally discovered by Bae et al. in hypervelocity (v over 100 km/s) impact of nanoparticles. The decay of MIMS resulted in the observed intense soft x-rays in the range of 75–100 eV in agreement with Winterberg’s recent prediction.
MIMS can be used for generating super-intense x-ray beams with unprecedented high conversion efficiency from kinetic-energy to x-ray energy, over 40%. Such super-intense x-ray beams can make inertial confinement nuclear fusion more efficient and economically viable. Metastable Innershell Molecular State (MIMS) is a new high energy density matter quantum state. MIMS exists in matters compressed “suddenly” at pressures in excess of one hundred million atmospheres.
Under normal pressure the distance of separation between two atoms in condensed matter is typically of the order 10^-8 cm, with the distance between molecules formed by the chemical binding of atoms of the same order of magnitude. As illustrated in a schematic way in Fig A1
, the electrons of the outer electron shells of two atoms undergoing a chemical binding, form a “bridge” between the reacting atoms. The formation of the bridge is accompanied in a lowering of the electric potential well for the outer shell electrons of the two reacting atoms, with the electrons feeling the attractive force of both atomic nuclei. Because of the lowering of the potential well, the electrons undergo under the emission of eV photons a transition into lower energy molecular orbits. At higher pressures, bridges between the next inner shells are formed, under the emission of soft X-rays.
Going to still higher pressures, a situation can arise as shown in Fig. A2, with the building of electron bridges between shells inside shells.
it would require a very high pressure to push two neon atoms that close to each other, but this example makes it plausible that smaller pressures exerted on heavier nuclei with many more electrons may result in a substantial lowering of the potential well for their electrons.
A pressure of p ≈ 100Mb = 10^14 dyn/cm2, can be reached with existing technology in sufficiently large volumes, with at least three possibilities:
1. Bombardment of a solid target with an intense relativistic electron- or ion beam.
2. Hypervelocity impact.
3. Bombardment of a solid target with beams or by hypervelocity impact, followed by a convergent shock wave.
To 1: This possibility was considered by Kidder who computes a pressure of 50 Megabar (Mb), if an iron plate is bombarded with a 1 MJ – 10 MeV – 10^6 A relativistic electron beam, focused down to an area of 0.1 cm2. Accordingly, a 2 MJ beam would produce 100 Megabar. Instead of using an intense relativistic electron beam, one may use an intense ion beam. It can be produced by the same high voltage technique, replacing the electron beam diode by a magnetically insulated diode.
Using intense ion beams has the additional benefit that the stopping of the ions in a target is determined by a Bragg curve, generating the maximum pressure inside the target, not on its surface.
To 2: A projectile with the density ρ ≈ 20 g/cm3, accelerated to a velocity v = 30 km/s would, upon impact, produce a pressure of p ≈100 Mb. The acceleration of the projectile to these velocities can be done by a magnetic traveling wave accelerator.
To 3: If, upon impact of either a particle beam or projectile, the pressure is less than 100 Mb, for example only of the order 10 Mb, but acting over a larger area, a tenfold increase in the pressure over a smaller area is possible by launching a convergent shock wave from the larger area on the surface of the target, onto a smaller area inside. According to Guderley , the rise in pressure in a convergent spherical shock wave goes as r −0.9 , which means that 100 Megabar could be reached by a ten-fold reduction in the radius of the convergent shock wave.
If the conjectured super-explosive consists of just one element, as is the case for the 35Br – 35Br reaction, or the 92U – 92U reaction, no special preparation for the super-explosive is needed. But as the example of Al–FeO thermite reaction shows, reactions with different atoms can release a much larger amount of energy compared to other chemical reactions. For the conjectured super-explosives this means as stated above that they have to be prepared as homogeneous mixtures of nano-particle powders, bringing the reacting atoms come as close together as possible.
For the ignition of a thermonuclear reaction one may consider the following scenario illustrated in Fig. A4. A convergent shock wave launched at the radius R = R0 into a spherical shell of outer and inner radius R0 , R1 , reaches near the radius R = R1 at a pressure of 100 Mb. After the inward moving convergent shock wave has reached the radius R = R1, an outward moving rarefaction wave is launched from the same radius R = R1 , from which an intense burst of X-rays is emitted. One can then place a thermonuclear DT target inside the cavity of the radius R = R1 , with the target bombarded, imploded, and ignited by the X-ray pulse. The ignited DT can there serve as a “hot spot” for the ignition of deuterium.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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