Nuclear Probing of Dense Plasmas

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The object of inertial confinement fusion (ICF) is to compress a fuel capsule to a state with high enough density and temperature to ignite, starting a self-sustaining fusion burn that consumes much of the fuel and releases a large amount of energy. The national ICF research program is trying to reach this goal, especially through experiments at the OMEGA laser facility of the University of Rochester Laboratory of Laser Energetics (LLE), planned experiments at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) under construction at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), and experimental and theoretical work at other national laboratories. The work by ... continued below

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Petrasso, Richard February 14, 2007.

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Description

The object of inertial confinement fusion (ICF) is to compress a fuel capsule to a state with high enough density and temperature to ignite, starting a self-sustaining fusion burn that consumes much of the fuel and releases a large amount of energy. The national ICF research program is trying to reach this goal, especially through experiments at the OMEGA laser facility of the University of Rochester Laboratory of Laser Energetics (LLE), planned experiments at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) under construction at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), and experimental and theoretical work at other national laboratories. The work by MIT reported here has played several important roles in this national program. First, the development of new and improved charged-particle-based plasma diagnostics has allowed the gathering of new and unique diagnostic information about the implosions of fuel capsules in ICF experiments, providing new means for evaluating experiments and for studying capsule implosion dynamics. Proton spectrometers have become the standard for evaluating the mass assembly in compressed capsules in experiments at OMEGA; the measured energy downshift of either primary or secondary D3He fusion protons to determines the areal density, or ?R, of imploded capsules. The Proton Temporal Diagnostic measures the time history of fusion burn, and multiple proton emission imaging cameras reveal the 3-D spatial distribution of fusion burn. A new compact neutron spectrometer, for measuring fusion yield, is described here for the first time. And of especially high importance to future work is the Magnetic Recoil Spectrometer (MRS), which is a neutron spectrometer that will be used to study a range of important performance parameters in future experiments at the NIF. A prototype is currently being prepared for testing at OMEGA, using a magnet funded by this grant. Second, MIT has used these diagnostic instruments to perform its own physics experiments and analysis with implosions at OMEGA, to provide essential data to other experimenters at LLE, and to work collaboratively with researchers from all the national laboratories (including LLNL, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratory). Some of the implosion dynamics physics studies reported here involve the relationships between drive asymmetries and implosion asymmetries (in terms of both mass assembly and fusion burn); the time evolution of mass assembly and mass asymmetries; the behavior of shock coalescence; and the nature of fuel-shell mix. Third, the MIT program has provided unique educational and research opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students. The graduate students are deeply engaged in every aspect of our research program, and spend considerable time at OMEGA working on experiments and working with our collaborators from OMEGA and from the National Labs. Many undergraduates have gotten a taste of ICF research, sometimes making significant contributions. We believe that the introduction of energetic and gifted students to the challenging problems of this field and the excitement of the national lab environment leads naturally to the infusion of bright, talented young scientists into our field, and several PhD recipients from this group have become important forces in the field. Finally, this work has provided the foundation for continuing advances during upcoming research, with other experimental and theoretical studies of implosion dynamics. In addition to the continuing application of diagnostic instrumentation used during this grant, important contributions will be made with new diagnostics such as the MRS and with new techniques based on the knowledge obtained here, such as proton radiography.

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  • Report No.: 010428-001
  • Grant Number: FG52-03NA00058
  • DOI: 10.2172/909182 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 909182
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc888140

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  • February 14, 2007

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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Petrasso, Richard. Nuclear Probing of Dense Plasmas, report, February 14, 2007; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc888140/: accessed November 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.