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.
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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.