Handheld Fusion Reactors Planned

DARPA appears to be planning handheld fusion reactors. Here's the budget description:

The Chip-Scale High Energy Atomic Beams program will develop chip-scale high-energy atomic beam technology by developing high- efficiency radio frequency (RF) accelerators, either linear or circular, that can achieve energies of protons and other ions up to a few mega electron volts (MeV). Chip-scale integration offers precise, micro actuators and high electric field generation at modest power levels that will enable several order of magnitude decreases in the volume needed to accelerate the ions. Furthermore,DARPA thermal isolation techniques will enable high efficiency beam to power converters, perhaps making chipscale self-sustained fusion possible.

Program Plans: FY 2009 Plans:
− Develop 0.5 MeV proton beams and collide onto microscale B-11 target with a fusion Q (energy ratio) > 20, possibly leading to self- sustained fusion.
− Develop neutron-less fusion allowing safe deployment for handheld power sources.
− Develop microscale isotope production by proton beam interaction with specific targets.
− Explore purification of isotope systems.
− Develop hand-held pico-second laser systems to introduce wakefield accelerators for x-ray and fusion sources.

Chipscale self-sustained fusion would be just the thing to power your pocket nucleo-bulb from Asimov's 1951 novel Foundation:

He [Wienis] cast one look out of the window. The city was pitch-black... Only toward the fight, where the Argolid Temple stood was there illumination. He swore angrily, and dragged the king away. Wienis burst into his chambers, the five guardsmen at his heels. Lepold followed, wide-eyed, scared speechless.

"Hardin," said Wienis, huskily, "you are playing with forces too great for you."

The mayor ignored the speaker. In the pearly light of the pocket nucleo-bulb at his side, he remained quietly seated, a slightly ironic smile on his face.

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