Reaction-in-flight neutrons as a signature for shell mixing in National Ignition Facility capsules

Hayes, A. C.; Bradley, P. A.; Grim, G. P.; Jungman, Gerard; Wilhelmy, J. B.
January 2010
Physics of Plasmas;Jan2010, Vol. 17 Issue 1, p012705
Academic Journal
Analytic calculations and results from computational simulations are presented that suggest that reaction-in-flight (RIF) neutrons can be used to diagnose mixing of the ablator shell material into the fuel in deuterium-tritium (DT) capsules designed for the National Ignition Facility (NIF) [J. A. Paisner, J. D. Boyes, S. A. Kumpan, W. H. Lowdermilk, and M. S. Sorem, Laser Focus World 30, 75 (1994)]. Such mixing processes in NIF capsules are of fundamental physical interest and can have important effects on capsule performance, quenching the total thermonuclear yield. The sensitivity of RIF neutrons to hydrodynamical mixing arises through the dependence of RIF production on charged-particle stopping lengths in the mixture of DT fuel and ablator material. Since the stopping power in the plasma is a sensitive function of the electron temperature and density, it is also sensitive to mix. RIF production scales approximately inversely with the degree of mixing taking place, and the ratio of RIF to down-scattered neutrons provides a measure of the mix fraction and/or the mixing length. For sufficiently high-yield capsules, where spatially resolved RIF images may be possible, neutron imaging could be used to map RIF images into detailed mix images.


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