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Status and Prospects of the Fast Ignition Inertial Fusion Concept

Description: Fast ignition is an alternate concept in inertial confinement fusion, which has the potential for easier ignition and greater energy multiplication. If realized it could improve the prospects for inertial fusion energy. It poses stimulating challenges in science and technology and the research is approaching a key stage in which the feasibility of fast ignition will be determined. This review covers the concepts, the state of the science and technology, the near term prospects and the challenges and risks involved in demonstrating high gain fast ignition.
Date: November 15, 2006
Creator: Key, M H
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Edward Teller medal lecture: high intensity lasers and the road to ignition

Description: There has been much progress in the development of high intensity lasers and in the science of laser driven inertially confined fusion such that ignition is now a near term prospect. This lecture reviews the field with particular emphasis on areas of my own involvement.
Date: June 2, 1997
Creator: Key, M. H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

XUV radiography measurements of direct drive imprint in thin aluminum foils using a Ge x-ray laser on Vulcan

Description: One key aspect for high gain direct drive inertial confinement fusion is the imprint of perturbations in the outer surface of a capsule due to nonuniformities in the direct laser illumination of the capsule. Direct drive implosions are achieved by uniformly irradiating the outside surface of a hollow spherical capsule that contains a layer of fusionable D-T on its inner surface. The intensity of laser irradiation is down with a low intensity ``foot`` at 10{sup 13} W/cm{sup 2} for several nanoseconds before it builds up to more than 10{sup 15} W/cm{sup 2} during the main drive portion of the pulse. Laser ablation of the capsule surface produces a high pressure that accelerates the capsule shell radially inward in a spherical implosion. During this acceleration, perturbations due to surface roughness and due to imprint from spatial nonuniformities in the laser irradiation undergo Rayleigh-Taylor growth, potentially severely degrading performance. Our interest is in studying the imprint process and subsequent Rayleigh-Taylor growth of perturbations in a foil target that is irradiated by a low intensity laser speckle pattern. Previous experiments have been done to study laser imprint with an x-ray laser backlighter at the Nova laser using 0.35 micrometer laser irradiation of a 3 micrometer Si foil. In these experiments we irradiated a 2 micrometer thick Al foil with 0.53 micrometer laser light at 2-8 {times} 10{sup 12} W/cm{sup 2} using the Vulcan laser. We used a Ge x-ray laser as an XUV backlighter to measure the modulation in optical depth of the foil on a CCD during the initial imprint phase and after Rayleigh-Taylor growth with different laser smoothing schemes. 4 refs., 6 figs.
Date: March 29, 1996
Creator: Kalantar, D.H.; Demir, A. & Key, M.H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Measurements of direct drive laser imprint in thin foils by XUV radiography using an X-ray laser backlighter

Description: In direct drive inertial confinement fusion, the residual speckle pattern remaining after beam smoothing plays an important role in the seeding of instabilities at the ablation front. We have used an x-ray laser as an XUV backlighter to characterize the imprinted modulation in thin foils for smoothing by random phase plate and spectral dispersion at both 0.35 pm and 0.53 pm irradiation, and induced spatial incoherence at 0.53 pm irradiation. We also demonstrate measurements of the modulation due to a single mode optical imprint generated by a narrow slit interference pattern, and modification of the imprint with a superposed smooth irradiation to study time dependence of the imprinting process. 8 refs., 10 figs.
Date: November 1, 1996
Creator: Kalantar, D.H.; Key, M.H. & DaSilva, L.B.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Hot electron production and heating by hot electrons in fast ignitor research

Description: In an experimental study of the physics of fast ignition the characteristics of the hot electron source at laser intensities up to 10(to the 20th power) Wcm{sup -2} and the heating produced at depth by hot electrons have been measured. Efficient generation of hot electrons but less than the anticipated heating have been observed.
Date: December 1, 1997
Creator: Key, M.H.; Estabrook, K. & Hammel, B.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Illumination uniformity requirements for direct drive inertial confinement fusion

Description: The requirements for laser uniformity are discussed in terms of the {ell}-mode spectrum. It is shown that the choice of smoothing methods can significantly alter this spectrum and that this choice should be made in the context of the target physics. Although two dimensional smoothing by spectral dispersion yields a high quality near field beam profile, it results in poor smoothing for low spatial frequency. The partially coherent light method (fiber smoothing) leads to superior smoothing at low spatial frequencies, but has very poor near field beam quality. As a result, it may be desirable to use partially coherent light during the driver pulse foot (at low intensity and when minimizing the laser imprint is critical) and smoothing by spectral dispersion during the main pulse.
Date: July 11, 1995
Creator: Rothenberg, J. E.; Eimerl, D.; Key, M. H. & Weber, S. V.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Measurement by XUV laser radiography of hydrodynamic perturbations in laser accelerated thin foil targets

Description: A novel diagnostic application of XUV lasers has been developed for the study of the hydrodynamic imprinting of laser speckle pattern on directly driven laser fusion targets. A neon-like Yttrium laser operating at 15.5 nm is used to probe thin foils of Si irradiated with an SSD smoothed laser at 0.35 mm wavelength and 6 10{sup 12} Wcm{sup {minus}2} intensity, simulating the initial phase of irradiation a laser fusion capsule. Measurements of the perturbations in target opacity are made by XUV radiography through the foil. The magnitude and Fourier composition of the perturbations has been determined both before and after Rayleigh Taylor growth showing the mode spectra of both the initial imprint and the subsequent RT growth.
Date: July 11, 1995
Creator: Key, M.H.; Kalantar, D.H. & Barbee, T.W. Jr.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Hot Electron Diagnostic in a Solid Laser Target by Buried K-Shell Fluorer Technique from Ultra-Intense (3x1020W/cm2,< 500 J) Laser-Plasma Interactions on the Petawatt Laser at LLNL

Description: Characterization of hot electron production (a conversion efficiency from laser energy into electrons) in ultra intense laser-solid target interaction, using 1.06 {micro}m laser light with an intensity of up to 3 x 10{sup 20}W cm{sup -2} and an on target laser energy of {le}500 J, has been done by observing K{sub {beta}} as well as K{sub {alpha}} emissions from a buried Mo layer in the targets, which are same structure as in the previous 100 TW experiments but done under less laser intensity and energy conditions ({le} 4 x 10{sup 19} Wcm{sup -2} and {le} 30 J). The conversion efficiency from the laser energy into the energy, carried by hot electrons, has been estimated to be {approx}50%, which are little bit higher than the previous less laser energy ({approx} 20 J) experiments, yet the x-ray emission spectra from the target has change drastically, i.e., gamma flash.
Date: June 29, 2000
Creator: Yasuike, K.; Key, M.H.; Hatchett, S.P. & Snavely, R.A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Petawatt Laser Data Analysis and Technology Development

Description: The Petawatt (PW) laser beam line at the LLNL Nova laser facility was unique in the world in supplying an order of magnitude higher power (1PW in pulses of 500 fs duration) than lasers elsewhere. Focused to intensities reaching 3 x l0{sup 20} Wcm{sup -2}, it opened up a new regime of experimental science where free electron energies in the light wave are strongly relativistic. After full operational capability of the PW beam-line was reached, close to 25% of the operation of the Nova facility was dedicated to PW shots for two years, prior to the shut down of Nova in May 1999. A wealth of novel scientific data was obtained and it motivated the primary objective of this June 1 to Oct. 1, 1999 LDRD, which was to complete systematic analysis of the PW laser data. This was done by the team, which had conducted the experiments working with associated experts in theoretical modeling of the complex physical phenomena. A second objective was to develop a key new technology of large area transmission gratings needed for the next step to higher energy PW laser development. This work was done by the team, which developed the reflective grating technology.
Date: September 30, 2000
Creator: Key, M.H. & Perry, M.D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

X-ray imaging to characterize MeV electronics propagation through plastic targets

Description: A high intensity laser pulse incident on an overdense plasma generates high energy electrons at the critical surface which propagate into the plasma. The details of this propagation is critical to the Fast Ignition process. The energetic electrons emerge as a jet on the far side, but the spread and propagation direction of the jet within the plasma is not well known. By embedding several thin high Z layers in a CH film one can directly image the progress of the electron beam. It loses enough energy to heat the medium through which it travels to hundreds of eV. At that temperature a film, even buried under CH, emits sufficiently hard thermal x-rays to allow imaging the heated area with an x-ray pinhole camera. The film can be thin enough to also see the emissions from another layer near the front of the film. If these two images are visible simultaneously, one can measure the beam spread and propagation direction within the plastic.
Date: September 3, 1999
Creator: Key, M H; Stephens, R B; Koch, J & Pennington, D
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Developing the Physics Basis of Fast Ignition Experiments at Future Large Fusion-class lasers

Description: The Fast Ignition (FI) concept for Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) has the potential to provide a significant advance in the technical attractiveness of Inertial Fusion Energy (IFE) reactors. FI differs from conventional 'central hot spot' (CHS) target ignition by using one driver (laser, heavy ion beam or Z-pinch) to create a dense fuel and a separate ultra-short, ultra-intense laser beam to ignite the dense core. FI targets can burn with {approx} 3X lower density fuel than CHS targets, resulting in (all other things being equal) lower required compression energy, relaxed drive symmetry, relaxed target smoothness tolerances, and, importantly, higher gain. The short, intense ignition pulse that drives this process interacts with extremely high energy density plasmas; the physics that controls this interaction is only now becoming accessible in the lab, and is still not well understood. The attraction of obtaining higher gains in smaller facilities has led to a worldwide explosion of effort in the studies of FI. In particular, two new US facilities to be completed in 2009/2010, OMEGA/OMEGA EP and NIF-ARC (as well as others overseas) will include FI investigations as part of their program. These new facilities will be able to approach FI conditions much more closely than heretofore using direct drive (dd) for OMEGA/OMEGA EP and indirect drive (id) for NIF-ARC. This LDRD has provided the physics basis for the development of the detailed design for integrated Fast ignition experiments on these facilities on the 2010/2011 timescale. A strategic initiative LDRD has now been formed to carry out integrated experiments using NIF ARC beams to heat a full scale FI assembled core by the end of 2010.
Date: February 8, 2008
Creator: Mackinnon, A J; Key, M H; Hatchett, S; MacPhee, A G; Foord, M; Tabak, M et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Measurements of deep heating generated by ultra-intense laser-plasma interactions

Description: We measure 300 eV thermal temperatures at near-solid densities by x-ray spectroscopy of tracer layers buried up to 30 pm inside CH slabs which are irradiated by a 0.5 kJ, 5 ps laser. X-ray imaging data suggest that collimated electron transport produces comparable temperatures as deep as 200 pm, and unexpectedly show the heated regions to be 50-120 pm-diameter rings. The data indicate that intense lasers can directionally heat solid matter to high temperatures over large distances; the results are relevant for fast-ignition inertial-confinement fusion and hot, dense plasma research
Date: August 25, 1999
Creator: Hatchett, S P; Key, M H; Koch, J A; Lee, R W; Pennington, D; Stephens, R B et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The case for fast ignition as an IFE concept exploration program

Description: The fast ignition (FI) concept is a variant of inertial fusion in which the compression and ignition steps are separated. Calculations suggest this would allow a substantial improvement in target gain, and could form the basis of a very attractive power plant. Transporting the energy to ignite a target involves the physics of light-driven relativistic plasmas; a subject which is not well understood. A concept exploration effort to understand the energy transport physics, and also to clarify the merits of a FI IFE power plant could justify a proof-of-principle program on the National Ignition Facility.
Date: September 23, 1999
Creator: Key, M. H.; Stephens, R. B.; Meier, W.; Moir, R. & Tabak, M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Proton Radiography of Laser-Plasma Interactions with Picosecond Time Resolution

Description: Radiography of laser-produced plasmas with MeV protons has the potential to provide new information on plasma conditions in extreme states of matter. Protons with energies up to many hundreds MeV, produced by large scale accelerators have been recently been used to obtain mass density radiographs of the behavior of large samples which have been shocked on microsecond timescales with approximately mm spatial resolution. The recent discovery of laminar proton beams accelerated to multi-MeV energies by picosecond duration laser beams has provided the opportunity to probe dense plasmas with hitherto unparalleled temporal and spatial resolution.
Date: February 10, 2005
Creator: Mackinnon, A J; Patel, P K; Town, R J; Hatchett, S P; Hicks, D; Phillips, T H et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Simulations of laser imprint for Nova experiments and for ignition capsules. Revision 1

Description: In direct drive ICF, nonuniformities in laser illumination seed ripples at the ablation front in a process called ``imprint``. These nonuniformities grow during the capsule implosion and, if initially large enough, can penetrate the capsule shell, impede ignition, or degrade burn. Imprint has been simulated for recent experiments performed on the Nova laser at LLNL examining a variety of beam smoothing conditions. Most used laser intensities similar to the early part of an ignition capsule pulse shape, 1 {approx_equal} 10{sup 13} W/cm{sup 2} . The simulations matched most of the measurements of imprint modulation. The effect of imprint upon National Ignition Facility (NIF) direct drive ignition capsules has also been simulated. Imprint is predicted to give modulation comparable to an intrinsic surface finish of {approximately}10 nm RMS. Modulation growth was examined using the Haan [Phys. Rev. A {bold 39}, 5812 (1989)] model, with linear growth factors as a function of spherical harmonic mode number obtained from an analytic dispersion relation. Ablation front amplitudes are predicted to become substantially nonlinear, so that saturation corrections are large. Direct numerical simulations of two-dimensional multimode growth were also performed. The capsule shell is predicted to remain intact, which gives a basis for believing that ignition can be achieved. 27 refs., 10 figs.
Date: December 1, 1996
Creator: Weber, S.V.; Glendinning, S.G.; Kalantar, D.H.; Key, M.H.; Remington, B.A.; Rothenberg, J.L. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Simulations of laser imprint for Nova experiments and for ignition capsules

Description: In direct drive ICF, nonuniformities in laser illumination seed ripples at the ablation front in a process called imprint. These non nonuniformities grow during the capsule implosion and, if initially large enough, can penetrate the capsule shell, impede ignition, or degrade burn. Imprint has been simulated for recent experiments performed on the Nova laser at LLNL examining a variety of beam smoothing conditions. Most used laser intensities similar to the early part of an ignition capsule pulse shape, I=10X13 W/cm3. The simulations matched most of the measurements of imprint modulation. The effect of imprint upon National Ignition Facility (NIF) direct drive ignition capsules has also been simulated. Imprint is predicted to give modulation comparable to an intrinsic surface finish of 10 nm RMS. Modulation growth was examined using the Haan model, with linear growth as a function of spherical harmonic mode number obtained from an analytic dispersion relation. Ablation front amplitudes are predicted to become substantially nonlinear, so that saturation corrections are large. Direct numerical simulations of two- dimensional multimode growth were also performed. The capsule shell is predicted to remain intact, which gives a basis for believing that ignition can be achieved.
Date: November 8, 1996
Creator: Weber, S.V.; Glendinning, S.G.; Kalantar, D.H.; Key, M.H.; Remington, B.A.; Rothenberg, J.E. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Laser plasma diagnostics of dense plasmas

Description: The authors describe several experiments on Nova that use laser-produced plasmas to generate x-rays capable of backlighting dense, cold plasmas (p {approximately} 1--3 gm/cm{sup 3}, kT {approximately} 5--10 eV, and areal density {rho}{ell}{approximately} 0.01--0.05 g/cm{sup 2}). The x-rays used vary over a wide range of h{nu}, from 80 eV (X-ray laser) to 9 keV. This allows probing of plasmas relevant to many hydrodynamic experiments. Typical diagnostics are 100 ps pinhole framing cameras for a long pulse backlighter and a time-integrated CCD camera for a short pulse backlighter.
Date: July 12, 1995
Creator: Glendinning, S.G.; Amendt, P.; Budil, K.S.; Hammel, B.A.; Kalantar, D.H.; Key, M.H. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Energetic Proton Generation in Ultra-Intense Laser-Solid Interactions

Description: An explanation for the energetic ions observed in the PetaWatt experiments is presented. In solid target experiments with focused intensities exceeding 10{sup 20} W/cm{sup 2}, high-energy electron generation, hard bremsstrahlung, and energetic protons have been observed on the backside of the target. In this report, we attempt to explain the physical process present that will explain the presence of these energetic protons, as well as explain the number, energy, and angular spread of the protons observed in experiment. In particular, we hypothesize that hot electrons produced on the front of the target are sent through to the back off the target, where they ionize the hydrogen layer there. These ions are then accelerated by the hot electron cloud, to tens of MeV energies in distances of order tens of microns, whereupon they end up being detected in the radiographic and spectrographic detectors.
Date: March 1, 2000
Creator: Wilks, S.C.; Langdon, A.B.; Cowan, T.E.; Roth, M.; Singh, M.; Hatchett, S. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department