Scientists at the University of Rochester have taken a significant step forward in laser fusion research.
Experiments using the OMEGA laser at the University’s Laboratory of Laser Energetics (LLE) have created the conditions capable of producing a fusion yield that’s five times higher than the current record laser-fusion energy yield, as long as the relative conditions produced at LLE are reproduced and scaled up at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.
Ref: Demonstration of Fuel Hot-Spot Pressure in Excess of 50 Gbar for Direct-Drive, Layered Deuterium-Tritium Implosions on OMEGA. Physical Review Letters (7 July 2016) | DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.117.025001
A record fuel hot-spot pressure Phs=56±7 Gbar was inferred from x-ray and nuclear diagnostics for direct-drive inertial confinement fusion cryogenic, layered deuterium–tritium implosions on the 60-beam, 30-kJ, 351-nm OMEGA Laser System. When hydrodynamically scaled to the energy of the National Ignition Facility, these implosions achieved a Lawson parameter ∼60% of the value required for ignition [A. Bose et al., Phys. Rev. E 93, 011201(R) (2016)], similar to indirect-drive implosions [R. Betti et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 114, 255003 (2015)], and nearly half of the direct-drive ignition-threshold pressure. Relative to symmetric, one-dimensional simulations, the inferred hot-spot pressure is approximately 40% lower. Three-dimensional simulations suggest that low-mode distortion of the hot spot seeded by laser-drive nonuniformity and target-positioning error reduces target performance.