Progress in direct-drive inertial confinement fusion

McCrory, R. L.; Meyerhofer, D. D.; Betti, R.; Craxton, R. S.; Delettrez, J. A.; Edgell, D. H.; Glebov, V. Yu.; Goncharov, V. N.; Harding, D. R.; Jacobs-Perkins, D. W.; Knauer, J. P.; Marshall, F. J.; McKenty, P. W.; Radha, P. B.; Regan, S. P.; Sangster, T. C.; Seka, W.; Short, R. W.; Skupsky, S.; Smalyuk, V. A.
May 2008
Physics of Plasmas;May2008, Vol. 15 Issue 5, p055503
Academic Journal
Significant progress in direct-drive inertial confinement fusion (ICF) research has been made since the completion of the 60-beam, 30-kJUV OMEGA Laser System [Boehly, Opt. Commun. 133, 495 (1997)] in 1995. A theory of ignition requirements, applicable to any ICF concept, has been developed. Detailed understanding of laser-plasma coupling, electron thermal transport, and hot-electron preheating has lead to the measurement of neutron-averaged areal densities of ∼200 mg/cm2 in cryogenic target implosions. These correspond to an estimated peak fuel density in excess of 100 g/cm3 and are in good agreement with hydrodynamic simulations. The implosions were performed using an 18-kJ drive pulse designed to put the converging fuel on an adiabat of two. The polar-drive concept will allow direct-drive-ignition research on the National Ignition Facility while it is configured for indirect drive. Advanced ICF ignition concepts—fast ignition [Tabak et al., Phys. Plasmas 1, 1626 (1994)] and shock ignition [Betti et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 155001 (2007)]—have the potential to significantly reduce ignition driver energies and/or provide higher target gain.


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