Understanding Implosion Performance on the National Iginition Facility: Progress Towards Inertial Confinement Fusion Ignition
The National Ignition Facility (NIF) is a 1.8 MJ laser facility designed to achieve Inertial Confiment Fusion (ICF) ignition. In this approach, the 192 laser beams of NIF are used to compress and heat a spherical capsule of deuterium-tritium (DT) fuel to the conditions necessary for significant thermonuclear burn. The first DT-fueled implosion experiments began on the NIF in Sept. 2010. Over the succeeding three years, experiments preformed as part of the National Ignition Campaign (NIC) significantly improved the yield and compression of NIF implosions, but the results were ultimately far below the early expectations of fusion yields in the MJ range. The subsequent "high foot" campaign tested a hydrodynamically more stable implosion design and showed an improvement in yield by roughly an order of magnitude. Neutron yields still failed to reach beyond the 10 kJ range, however. Unraveling the performance of these implosions has proven a complex task, combining diverse experimental data, innovation in implosion design, and also intensive simulation efforts. This talk focuses on how state-of-the-art radiation hydrodynamics modeling has given insight into NIF implosion performance and the complex dynamics that govern their behavior. The evolution of simulation technique, along with the comparison of simulated results to experimental data will be reviewed. Some promising directions for further performance improvements suggested by the simulations will also be discussed.
Contact: Mallory Neet email@example.com