Timelines and milestones | lpp fusion

Focus Fusion Timelines and Milestones

While the Dense Plasma Focus device, referred to as DPF or PF has existed for 40 years, progress with the DPF has been impeded mainly by a lack of good quantitative theoretical models of the tiny plasmoid, where the fusion reactions take place. There are too many parameters in the DPF device to allow progress on a purely empirical basis: the anode and cathode radii, electrode length, shape of the anode and especially anode tip, length of insulator, charging voltage, fill pressure, fill gas, and so on. Without a good theory, DPF research is like wandering in a six-dimensional desert looking for small oases. This means that there has been until recently, apart from our own work, no good way of predicting in advance the size, density, magnetic field and ion and electron energies of the plasmoids (ultra-dense, self-confined blobs of plasma) in the DPF, given initial conditions.

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics, or LPP for short, (DBA LPPFusion since 2018) beginning in the 1980’s, developed a detailed quantitative theory of DPF device operation, which has been successfully tested against experiments that we performed in collaboration with the University of Illinois in 1994 and with Texas A&M University in 2001. This theory, including important refinements that include magnetic effects gives us the ability, unique among DPF groups, to show in advance that hydrogen-boron fusion is feasible. Now, in the past two years, other DPF groups are working along closer lines making collaboration feasible and speeding research.


Timelines – History

2001 – A small team of physicists led by Lerner achieved temperatures above one billion degrees in a plasma focus device, high enough for hydrogen-boron reactions. This breakthrough, reported at an international scientific conference in May 2002, took place at Texas A&M University and was funded by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

2003 – LPPF was incorporated. Lerner presented new theoretical analysis at the prestigious 5th Symposium on Current Trends in International Fusion Research in Washington DC, showing that the magnetic field effect could greatly reduce the cooling of hydrogen-boron plasma by X-ray emission, and make the production of net energy far easier. The presentation was favorably received by some of the top fusion experts in the world.

2004 – LPPF completed a preliminary simulation of plasmoids that burned proton-boron (pB11) fuel. The simulation results confirmed that net energy production is possible with a small Focus Fusion device.

2006 – LPPF submitted a patent application to the U.S. Patent Office. The patent application, entitled “Method and Apparatus for Producing X-rays, Ion Beams and Nuclear Fusion Energy”, covers the use of high magnetic fields (the quantum magnetic field effect) in the production of fusion energy, the injection of angular momentum into the plasma sheath, and a new method of converting X-ray energy into electricity.

2007 – Eric Lerner presented Focus Fusion at Google TechTalks, raising public awareness of our work. LPPF began to develop a sophisticated computer simulation aimed at understanding the formation of the plasmoids in the dense plasma focus reactor in detail. This work is being carried out in collaboration with Dr. John Guillory, Professor Emeritus at George Mason University, and Dr. David Rose of Voss Scientific, Inc.

2008 – LPPF initiated its planned two-year experiment after receiving $1.2 million from private investors and The Abell Foundation.


  1. U.S. Patent office issued Patent 7,482,607, “Method and Apparatus for Producing X-rays, Ion Beams and Nuclear Fusion Energy,” to Eric J. Lerner and Aaron Blake, with the assignment of the patent to Lawrenceville Plasma Physics, Inc.
  2. LPPF moved into its new office where the equipment was assembled.
  3. Eric Lerner and the research team finished assembling “Focus Fusion-1” DPF device and began experiments. We use the nickname FF-1 as short form of Focus Fusion-1.

2010 Annual summary

LPPF’s research team demonstrated repeatable firing with ion temperatures over 100 keV. The troublesome switching system was redesigned and upgraded to handle many more shots at higher energies.

2011 Annual summary

  1. Demonstrating the continuation of I5 power scaling of the fusion yield—that is, showing that fusion energy per shot continues to increase with the fifth power of the peak current, as predicted by our theory.
  2. Record (for FF-1) fusion yield (ibid) of 150 billion neutrons.
  3. Improvement of repeatability of fusion yield 1st to within 15%, then to within 3%.
  4. Fusion yield at the highest pressures (over 40 torr) for any dense plasma focus device.
  5. Demonstrating the technical feasibility of the X-scan spin-off inspection technology by showing high X-ray transmission through 6 inches of metal.

These achievements were made possible by several technical advances:

2012 Annual Summary

  1. LPPF published in a leading peer-reviewed journal, Physics of Plasmas, our achievement of two out of the three conditions needed to produce net energy: a record-high temperature and the required confinement time of the hot plasma.
  2. LPPF demonstrated that our approach is, by far, the leader in the effort to achieve aneutronic or radioactive-waste-free  fusion, the only known route to ecologically clean, cheap, bio-safe, and unlimited energy.
  3. LPPF eliminated arcing problems in the FF-1 fusion device that were blocking progress; it developed and used simulations to improve the FF-1 fusion device design, and acquired a greater theoretical understanding of FF-1’s 1.8 billion degree temperatures.
  4. We initiated collaboration with the Plasma Physics Research Center in Iran, established closer collegial links with Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, and set up collaboration with Japanese simulation scientists. These collaborations will help substantially in accomplishing our goals in 2013.

2013 – LPPF identified impurities as the main obstacle to increased densities and started work on tungsten electrodes to overcome the impurity problem. Report by Dr. Robert Hirsch and others recommend increased funding for LPPF approach.

2014 – Raised $180k via crowdfunding for beryllium electrodes—demonstrating public interest and support for the project.

2016 – Pure tungsten electrodes of improved design were integrated into FF-1 achieving 50% increase in fusion yield and world record ion energy for any fusion device.

2017Beryllium electrodes received. Collaboration started with UC San Diego Center for Energy Research.

2018 – Raised almost $1 million. Completion of tungsten electrode tests. Experimental verification of filament/impurity theory. Assembly begins for Beryllium electrodes.

2019 Start of experiments with beryllium electrodes. Achievement of high-purity plasma

2020 – Redesign of switches, power circuit and anode

2021Testing of new switches, anode starts

2022 – new plasma purity record achieved


Projections ahead (years are rough estimates)

2022-23 – Start experiments with pB11 fuel

2023-24– Demonstrations of more energy out of the device than is put in

2026 – First prototype 5 MW generator

Keep track of our current activities in 2022 and beyond in our News section, by following us on Twitter or on Facebook for even more frequent updates!


Progress shot by shot


A more detailed way to look at our progress is in terms of how many shots it has taken, or we expect it will take, to get to a goal.

What is a shot? In sports and in coffee shops a shot may refer to espresso shot, whiskey short. In medicine, injection is a shot. In hunting and military ops, firing a gun is a shot. In experimental science, we fire a machine,  so in essence we fire a shot. A “shot” is an iterative or additive instance of an experimental project. We describe our expectations in units of “shots” and not in time units because we can only predict the outcomes based on collective shots data.


FF-1 – Experimental Device Achievements

What We Have Done so Far Cumulative Shots Since Start of Project
0.1 J fusion yield 300
1.8 billion C temperature 1,000
Switches firing together 1,200
Identified impurity problem 1,500
Design of monolithic tungsten electrodes as impurity solution 1,800
Identification of runaway electron problem, solutions 1,900
Identification of oxygen problem, solutions 1,930
0.25 J fusion yield 2,090
2.8 billion C temperature 2,140

Since Start of FF-2B

Development Tasks and Milestones Cumulative Shots from Present Time Achieved
1. Demonstrate achievement of low impurity 100 ACHIEVED ✓ 75 shots
2. Demonstrate 10 J Fusion yield 200  
3. Demonstrate continued scaling of yield with current 300  
4. Demonstrate 100-fold increase of density 400  
5. Install and test heating and other equipment for hydrogen-boron fuel 500  
6. Test increased current with upgrade of power supply 600  
7. Tests with hydrogen-boron partial gas 700  
8. Demonstrate 100 J fusion yield with hydrogen-boron 800  
9. Demonstrate 1,000 J fusion yield 900  
10. Tests with pure hydrogen-boron fuel 1,000  
11. Demonstrate scientific feasibility, net energy output 1,300  

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