One-dimensional hydrodynamic simulations of low convergence ratio direct-drive inertial confinement fusion implosions
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences The Royal Society 379:2189 (2020) 20200224
Abstract:Indirect drive inertial confinement fusion experiments with convergence ratios below 17 have been previously shown to be less susceptible to Rayleigh-Taylor hydrodynamic instabilities, making this regime highly interesting for fusion science. Additional limitations imposed on the implosion velocity, in-flight aspect ratio and applied laser power aim to further reduce instability growth, resulting in a new regime where performance can be well represented by one-dimensional (1D) hydrodynamic simulations. A simulation campaign was performed using the 1D radiation-hydrodynamics code HYADES to investigate the performance that could be achieved using direct drive implosions of liquid layer capsules, over a range of relevant energies. Results include potential gains of 0.19 on LMJ-scale systems and 0.75 on NIF-scale systems, and a reactor-level gain of 54 for an 8.5 MJ implosion. While the use of 1D simulations limits the accuracy of these results, they indicate a sufficiently high level of performance to warrant further investigations and verification of this new low-instability regime. This potentially suggests an attractive new approach to fusion energy.
Preparations for a European R&D roadmap for an inertial fusion demo reactor
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences The Royal Society 379 (2020) 20200005
Abstract:A European consortium of 15 laboratories across nine nations have worked together under the EUROFusion Enabling Research grants for the past decade with three principle objectives. These are: (a) investigating obstacles to ignition on megaJoule-class laser facilities; (b) investigating novel alternative approaches to ignition, including basic studies for fast ignition (both electron and ion-driven), auxiliary heating, shock ignition, etc.; and (c) developing technologies that will be required in the future for a fusion reactor. A brief overview of these activities, presented here, along with new calculations relates the concept of auxiliary heating of inertial fusion targets, and provides possible future directions of research and development for the updated European Roadmap that is due at the end of 2020.
Whole-beam self-focusing in fusion-relevant plasma
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences Royal Society 379:2189 (2020) 20200159
Abstract:Fast ignition inertial confinement fusion requires the production of a low-density channel in plasma with density scale-lengths of several hundred microns. The channel assists in the propagation of an ultra-intense laser pulse used to generate fast electrons which form a hot spot on the side of pre-compressed fusion fuel. We present a systematic characterisation of an expanding laser-produced plasma using optical interferometry, benchmarked against three-dimensional hydrodynamic simulations. Magnetic fields associated with channel formation are probed using proton radiography, and compared to magnetic field structures generated in fullscale particle-in-cell simulations. We present observations of long lived, straight channels produced by the Habara-Kodama-Tanaka (HKT) wholebeam self-focusing mechanism, overcoming a critical barrier on the path to realising fast ignition.
Nonlinear wakefields and electron injection in cluster plasma
Physical Review Accelerators and Beams American Physical Society 23 (2020) 093501
Abstract:Laser and beam driven wakefields promise orders of magnitude increases in electric field gradients for particle accelerators for future applications. Key areas to explore include the emittance properties of the generated beams and overcoming the dephasing limit in the plasma. In this paper, the first in-depth study of the self-injection mechanism into wakefield structures from nonhomogeneous cluster plasmas is provided using high-resolution two dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. The clusters which are typical structures caused by ejection of gases from a high-pressure gas jet have a diameter much smaller than the laser wavelength. Conclusive evidence is provided for the underlying mechanism that leads to particle trapping, comparing uniform and cluster plasma cases. The accelerated electron beam properties are found to be tunable by changing the cluster parameters. The mechanism explains enhanced beam charge paired with large transverse momentum and energy which has implications for the betatron x-ray flux. Finally, the impact of clusters on the high-power laser propagation behavior is discussed.
Measuring the orbital angular momentum of high-power laser pulses
Physics of Plasmas AIP Publishing 27:5 (2020) 053107