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Short-wavelength-laser requirements for direct-drive ignition and gain

  • R.L. McCrory (a1), J.M. Soures (a1), J.P. Knauer (a1), S.A. Letzring (a1), F.J. Marshall (a1), S. Skupsky (a1), W. Seka (a1), C.P. Verdon (a1), D.K. Bradley (a1), R.S. Craxton (a1), J.A. Delettrez (a1), R. Epstein (a1), P. Jaanimagi (a1), R. Keck (a1), T. Kessler (a1), H. Kim (a1), R.L. Kremens (a1), P.W. McKenty (a1), R.W. Short (a1) and B. Yaakobi (a1)...

Abstract

Inertial confinement fusion (ICF) requires high compression of fusion fuel to densities approaching 1000 times liquid density of deuterium-tritium (D–T) at central temperatures in excess of 5 keV. The goal of ICF is to achieve high gain (of the order of 100 or greater) in the laboratory. To meet this objective with minimum driver energy, a number of central issues must be addressed. Research in ICF with laser drivers has shown the importance of using short wavelength (λ < 0.5 µm). To achieve conditions for high gain at driver energies of a few megajoules or less, high intensities (>1014W/cm2) are required. The directdrive approach to ICF is more energy efficient than indirect drive if the stringent drive symmetry and hydrodynamic stability requirements can be met by a suitable laser irradiation scheme and target design. Experiments carried out at 351 nm on the 2-kJ, 24-beam OMEGA laser system at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) at the University of Rochester, and future experiments to be performed on a 30-kJ upgrade of this laser, can resolve the remaining physics issues for direct drive: (1) energy coupling and transport scaling; (2) irradiation-uniformity requirements for high gain; (3) hydrodynamic stability constraints; and (4) hot-spot and main-fuel-layer physics. We review progress made on achieving uniform drive conditions with the OMEGA system and present results for direct-drive cryogenic-fuel-capsule and CD-shell, “surrogate” cryogenic-capsule implosion experiments that illustrate the constraints imposed by hydrodynamic instabilities and drive uniformity on the design of high-performance direct-drive targets. Target designs have been identified that will explore the ignition-scaling regime using the OMEGA Upgrade. Experiments on the OMEGA Upgrade will signal whether or not there is a high probability of achieving modest to high gain using direct drive on an upgrade of the NOVA facility.

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References

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Short-wavelength-laser requirements for direct-drive ignition and gain

  • R.L. McCrory (a1), J.M. Soures (a1), J.P. Knauer (a1), S.A. Letzring (a1), F.J. Marshall (a1), S. Skupsky (a1), W. Seka (a1), C.P. Verdon (a1), D.K. Bradley (a1), R.S. Craxton (a1), J.A. Delettrez (a1), R. Epstein (a1), P. Jaanimagi (a1), R. Keck (a1), T. Kessler (a1), H. Kim (a1), R.L. Kremens (a1), P.W. McKenty (a1), R.W. Short (a1) and B. Yaakobi (a1)...

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