J. Phys. IV France
Volume 133, June 2006
Page(s) 391 - 395
Publié en ligne 16 juin 2006
Inertial Fusion Sciences and Applications 2005
J.-C. Gauthier, et al.
J. Phys. IV France 133 (2006) 391-395

DOI: 10.1051/jp4:2006133078

Simulation of heating-compressed fast-ignition cores by petawatt laser-generated electrons

T.A. Mehlhorn1, R.B. Campbell1, R. Kodama2, K.A. Tanaka2, 3, D.R. Welch4, S.A. Slutz1, R.A. Vesey1, D.L. Hanson1, M.E. Cuneo1 and J.L. Porter1

1  Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185, USA
2  Institute of Laser Engineering (ILE), Osaka University, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan
3  Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan
4  ATK/Mission Research Corporation, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87110, USA

In this work, unique particle-in-cell simulations to understand the relativistic electron beam thermalization and subsequent heating of highly compressed plasmas are reported. The simulations yield heated core parameters in good agreement with the GEKKO-PW experimental measurements, given reasonable assumptions of laser-to-electron coupling efficiency and the distribution function of laser-produced electrons. The classical range of the hot electrons exceeds the mass density-core diameter product $\rho $L by a factor of several. Anomalous stopping appears to be present and is created by the growth and saturation of an electromagnetic filamentation mode that generates a strong back-EMF impeding hot electrons on the injection side of the density maxima .This methodology is then applied to the design of experiments for the ZR machine coupled to the Z-Beamlet/PW laser.

Sandia National Laboratories is also developing a combination of experimental and theoretical capabilities useful for the study of pulsed-power-driven fast ignition physics. In preparation for these fast ignition experiments, the theory group at Sandia is modeling various aspects of fast ignition physics. Numerical simulations of laser/plasma interaction, electron transport, and ion generation are being performed using the LSP code. LASNEX simulations of the compression of deuterium/tritium fuel in various reentrant cone geometries are being performed. Analytic and numerical modeling has been performed to determine the conditions required for fast ignition breakeven scaling. These results indicate that to achieve fusion energy output equal to the deposited energy in the core will require about 5% of the laser energy needed for ignition and might be an achievable goal with an upgraded Z-beamlet laser in short pulse mode.

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