Juliusz Kruszelnicki

Juliusz Kruszelnicki
Mentor: Dr. James Baciak
College of Engineering
"I see world's dependence on fossil fuels as the single greatest threat to humanity. Power demand is only going to grow, yet no feasible replacement for those fuels has truly emerged. I see nuclear fusion as an option. It produces no harmful waste products, does not have a potential of a runaway reaction (like commercial fission reactors do), and utilizes fuels that are both: readily available and abundant. Going forward I would like to be involved in nuclear fusion and plasma physics studies, and have designed this project to prepare me for that career path."


Nuclear Engineering



Research Interests

  • Nuclear Fusion
  • Plasma Physics
  • High Voltage Systems

Academic Awards

  • University Scholars Program
  • Best Presentation, Los Alamos National Lab
  • Best Presentation, WASET Conference, Stockholm, Sweden
  • American Nuclear Society Scholarship
  • American Physics Society Scholarship


  • American Nuclear Society
  • Motorcycle Association of Students and Staff
  • Delta Epsilon Iota Honors Society



Hobbies and Interests

  • Motorcycles
  • Computer Science
  • Travel

Research Description

"Impact of Focusing Grid Electrodes and Pulsed Power on Modified IEC Fusion Device"

Due to the considerable demand for cost-effective neutron sources capable of producing 1E6 neutrons/second, a modified Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) apparatus design is proposed and analyzed. Akin to a standard cylindrical IEC device, here concentric outer anode and inner mesh cathode are housed within a deuterium-filled ultra-high vacuum (~10E-6 Torr) chamber and subjected to a high voltage potential difference (~20 kV). Atypically, this high voltage is pulsed at millisecond time scales. Due to decreased voltage potential exposure interval, the usual method of field ionization of fuel no longer suffices in creating adequate number of D- molecules. To compensate, electron ionization is employed. A high purity, whiskered copper ring is placed on axial end of the vacuum chamber and subjected to high current (~100 A) and low voltage (~70 V), thus being made to act as a circular electron gun. An axial magnetic field (~0.04T) is generated to serve dual purpose of: i) restricting the electron tracks to the outer area of the cylinder ii) briefly confining the electron-ionized fuel in that same region. The magnetic field and the electron gun subsystems are pulsed simultaneously for approximately 10 ms, followed by pulsation of IEC electrodes. During the latter stage, ions accelerate down the potential, collide and fuse. The idea of ion-pathway Focusing Grid Electrodes (FGE) is also explored. Theoretically, placing an additional, concentric electrode at a point between the IEC cathode and anode and at a voltage lower in magnitude and opposite in sign to that of the cathode creates a charged particle lens that forces the ionic beams into the center of the device. This, in turn, decreases ion-pathways’ stochastic behavior, reduces the focal point size and raises the ionic interaction probability. A Schwarz-Christoffel electrostatic field representation using a Mathematica simulation was run to verify these claims. Presented results include several theoretical calculations predicting the device’s performance, neutronic output and energy consumption, P-SPICE power supply circuitry models and simulations, and ion-pathway simulations. It was found that 2E3 neutrons would be output per ~10 ms ‘shot’, during which ~1.685 W-hr of energy would be consumed. Furthermore, simulations indicate that including FGEs do, in fact, decrease the stochastic behavior of the ions. A 2/3 outer radius fractional distance along with -1/2 cathode potential charge seem to have the greatest positive effects. Ongoing work focuses on empirical approximation of these effects. The total cost of the device is predicted to be under $6,000.