Advanced Fusion Target-Capsule Concepts

Ogden Jones (15-ERD-058)


Both high-energy-density physics and Inertial Confinement Fusion experiments would greatly benefit from a laser-driven target capsule (hohlraum) that consistently provides an efficient and spherically symmetric radiation drive without the complications of hot-electron production, nonlocal thermodynamic equilibrium x-ray preheat, and the need for cross-beam energy transport. A more-energy-efficient hohlraum would allow access to desired radiation temperature regimes within the constraints of available laser energy, while a more symmetric drive would help achieve highly converged, high-yield capsule implosions. We are developing detailed designs for three novel potentially transformative hohlraum concepts. These three hohlraum concepts address the challenges facing standard cylindrical gas-filled hohlraums by having the beams traverse shorter, hotter plasmas to reduce backscatter, shielding the capsule from direct illumination from laser spots, or avoiding cross-beam transfer altogether. These concepts are utilizing foam walls of high-atomic-number materials (see figure) to increase stability of the wall and fill interface, increase efficiency, reduce symmetry swings, and allow smaller laser entrance holes, with less attenuation of energy. This work is important because a more-efficient, repeatable hohlraum platform producing more symmetric drive opens up new areas of design for both Inertial Confinement Fusion and high-energy-density research.

We expect to enable transformational redesigns of the hohlraum target capsule to develop one or more platforms that can support long, low-heat-transfer pulses while maintaining a high degree of efficiency, symmetry, and modeling integrity for Inertial Confinement Fusion. Another key application of an available suite of simplified hohlraum platforms is in high-energy-density studies such as thermal and radiation transport, without the modeling challenges of excessive electron and x-ray preheat. We will provide conceptual designs for three concepts, including capsules with additional laser entrance holes at the midplane, two concentric spherical shells that enclose an inner capsule, and foam baffle structures within the hohlraum to control symmetry and spectral content of radiation reaching the capsule. We will then test the key physics questions for each concept in subscale experiments on the OMEGA laser facility at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics in New York. Based on the results, we will select one or two concepts and design full-scale feasibility experiments at Livermore's National Ignition Facility.

Mission Relevance

Developing an efficient, symmetric, spectrally simpler hohlraum drive is critical for performing relevant experiments for both high-energy-density science research and stockpile stewardship. This would enable more precise high-energy-density experiments that will allow more accurate fundamental physics understanding of radiation flow, x-ray conversion, and self-heating burning plasmas. Research into the use of foam materials for fusion targets also aligns with the inertial fusion science and technology strategic focus area at the Laboratory.

FY15 Accomplishments and Results

In FY15 we (1) completed preliminary design calculations for the three concepts, (2) identified small laser entrance holes as a common technology for these hohlraums, (3) designed a series of OMEGA experiments using half holhraums (halfraums) with 1-mg/cm3 silicon-dioxide foam fill and/or 200-mg/cm3 gold-foam washer end caps (to replace the standard laser entrance holes), (4) worked with LLNL target fabrication experts on production of the 12 halfraum targets needed for OMEGA shot day, and (5) specified target dimensions, types of foams, and a development plan for the gold-foam washer end cap.

Electron microscope image of a prototype 550-mg/cm<sup>3</sup> gold foam we have developed. low-density gold foam is used to line the hohlraum target-capsule wall in the alternate hohlraum designs we are exploring for laser fusion research. this foam will be used in laser experiments in fy16.
Electron microscope image of a prototype 550-mg/cm3 gold foam we have developed. Low-density gold foam is used to line the hohlraum target-capsule wall in the alternate hohlraum designs we are exploring for laser fusion research. This foam will be used in laser experiments in FY16.