NEW RUSSIAN SUPERLASER: A LOOK BACK AT FARNSWORTHFebruary 22, 2012
Russia has announced that it plans to spend $1.5 billion to construct its own version of Europe's superlaser to study nuclear fusion. Russian superlaser to be as good as H-bomb
If you look at the picture in the article, you might, if you're like me, have noticed something: the resemblance of this gigantic device to the the much smaller devices patented in the 1960s by American physicist and engineer Philo Farnsworth(scroll down the page to see the schematic of Farnsworth's "Fusor" and the resemblance to the large superlaser devices of modern fusion research; the article itself is well worth reading, giving a quick overview history of Farnsworth's conceptualization of his devices, and in particular his method of electromagnetic confinement and ion bombardment):
For those of you who don't know, Farnsworth developed and patented these small devices in the 1960s, and reportedly even obtained stable fusion reactions with them for a few seconds, a then-unheard of achievement. Enthused, Farnsworth held a news conference in New York City where he announced his results. Then....well...then ITT stepped in and asserted its ownership of the patents (and indeed, it did own them), and Farnsworth's little devices disappeared into relative obscurity, until, as the article notes, they were revived in the 1980s as neutron sources. Farnsworth's basic idea, as the patent outlines, was to confine a fusion source not only intertially but electromagnetically via "virtual electrodes", and to direct high energy ions into it.
The resemblance here to the modern superlasers is palpable, though in the case of the modern device, the lasers replace Farnsworth's clumsier particle accelerators. One has to wonder, however, if the resemblance between these modern devices and the Farnsworth device is more than coincidental, and if they, like Farnsworth, might also be contemplating the use of cathodes and anodes as well? We simply don't know and to my knowledge there's nothing in the Russian plans as indicated in the RT article that they are....
...but, it wouldn't surprise me.
In any case, what is interesting is that the Russian laser design is also apparently for the study of the behavior of fusion plasmas during a thermonuclear explosion. In other words, it will enable the design of very efficient fusion bombs, with reaction efficiency probably greatly exceeding previous designs. So what are they really after?
One possibility is the "holy grail" of 1950s fusion bomb "mad scientists," a goal outlined by the American inventor of the neutron bomb, Sam Cohen, namely, a "clean fusion bomb," or, to put it more bluntly, a hydrogen bomb that didn't require an atom bomb to set it off. That, of course, is the problem, for in standard models of physics, the notion of firing off a fusion bomb without the radiation of an atom bomb as the "fuse" was unthinkable(yes that's right folks, an atom bomb is just the fuse for a hydrogen bomb). To put it country simple, it just wouldn't work.
But according to Cohen - writing during the 1990s "red mercury scare" - that didn't stop the USSR and USA from looking into the idea, very secretly of course. And that implies that maybe, just maybe, "they" knew something about fusion privately that they weren't talking about publicly, well, at least maybe not until Farnsworth and Pons and Fleischman came along... if indeed "they knew" something and weren't talking, then for very good reason these three Utah scientists had to be made to look foolish. But I leave it to you to think about the possibilities as to why...