The numerical simulation of the driving beams in a heavy ion
fusion power plant is a challenging task, and simulation of
the power plant as a whole, or even of the driver, is not yet
possible. Despite the rapid progress in computer power, past
and anticipated, one must consider the use of the most advanced
numerical techniques, if we are to reach our goal expeditiously.
One of the difficulties of these simulations resides in the
disparity of scales, in time and in space, which must be resolved.
When these disparities are in distinctive zones of the simulation
region, a method which has proven to be effective in other areas
(e.g., fluid dynamics simulations) is the mesh refinement
technique. We discuss the challenges posed by the implementation
of this technique into plasma simulations (due to the presence
of particles and electromagnetic waves). We present the prospects
for and projected benefits of its application to heavy ion fusion,
in particular to the simulation of the ion source and the final
beam propagation in the chamber. A collaboration project is
under way at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory between the
Applied Numerical Algorithms Group (ANAG) and the Heavy Ion
Fusion group to couple the adaptive mesh refinement library
CHOMBO developed by the ANAG group to the particle-in-cell
accelerator code WARP developed by the Heavy Ion
Fusion–Virtual National Laboratory. We describe our progress
and present our initial findings.