Research Opportunities in High Energy Density Laboratory Plasmas on the NDCX-II Facility Page: 3 of 6
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(2) Identify the scientific issues of implosion and target design that need to be addressed to make the
case for inertial fusion energy as a potential future energy source."
Compelling research opportunities of high intellectual value that can be carried out on the NDCX-II
experimental facility are briefly summarized below, grouped into four main research areas. Page 4 lists
several national and internationally-attended user workshops that have provided much of the input for
the experimental campaigns describe below. More detailed information can be provided upon request.
(1) Detailed studies of the basic physics of the warm dense matter regime using uniform
volumetric ion heating
The capability to study target foils requires a wide range of diagnostics, including optical pyrometry,
visible and UV spectroscopy, high-speed cameras, VISAR, ion beam probes, and laser probes, etc.
Many of these diagnostics have already been implemented in experiments on the NDCX-I facility.
Experiments to measure target temperature and conductivity using intense ion beams compressed both
transversely and longitudinally: In these experiments, the optimum focus (both longitudinally and
transversely) that can be obtained on NDCX-II will be used to raise the target temperature as high as
possible, and to make detailed hydrodynamic and conductivity measurements.
Positive - negative halogen ion plasma experiments: These experiments would require target
temperatures kT > 0.4 eV. Due to the larger electron affinity of the halogens, the Saha equation
predicts that at temperatures near 0.4 eV the plasma will consist primarily of positive and negative
ions, with a much lower density of electrons. The ion-ion plasma conductivity may have several
similarities to a semiconductor, so that the detailed exploration of this novel plasma state has the
potential for significant scientific payoff, including applications such as high-power plasma switches.
Two-phase liquid-vapor metal experiments: These experiments would require target temperatures kT
> 0.5 - 1 eV. The physics of droplet and debris formation, the location of the liquid-vapor phase
transition boundary for a number of metals, and the hydrodynamics of metals crossing this phase
boundary are not clearly understood, and would greatly benefit from the precision measurements that
could be carried out on NDCX-II.
Properties of liquid metals heating towards their critical points: The critical point occurs at the
highest temperature for which a distinction can be made between the gaseous and liquid states. The
critical point for a number of metals is not well known. Therefore, a precise experimental
determination of this fundamental quantity would be of considerable basic scientific interest.
(2) Fundamental investigations of ion-beam-driven inertial fusion energy science
Direct-drive beam-to-capsule coupling efficiency experiments: One-dimensional implosion
calculations show that increasing the ion range four-fold during the drive pulse can maintain the ion
energy deposition surface close to the imploding ablation front. This results in high coupling
efficiencies (shell kinetic energy/incident beam energy) of 16% to 18%, and calculations show 25%
efficiencies are possible; this could have dramatic consequences for an inertial fusion energy power
plant. NDCX-II experiments, in which the ion energy increases by a factor of two or more in an
energy-ramped pulse or in a pair of pulses, will be able to explore the physics of transforming beam
energy into hydrodynamic motion.
Ion-heated foam radiator targets for indirect-drive hohlraum targets: One important research area that
will be explored on NDCX-II is the physics of metallic foams. In inertial confinement fusion targets,
foams are employed in several designs, for example, as radiation converters in heavy ion fusion and as
the structural material in double-shelled laser targets. Experiments on NDCX-II will characterize the
equation-of-state by measuring the characteristics of rarefaction waves created when ion beams
volumetrically heat material.
Formation of micro- and nano-particles from the expansion of hohlraum target plasmas into the
vacuum chamber: During an inertial fusion microexplosion, droplets and debris can develop in the
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Barnard, John; Cohen, Ron; Friedman, Alex; Grote, Dave; Lund, Steven; Sharp, Bill et al. Research Opportunities in High Energy Density Laboratory Plasmas on the NDCX-II Facility, report, March 23, 2009; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc929816/m1/3/: accessed November 13, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.