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Title: Progress Toward Ignition on the National Ignition Facility

Abstract

The principal approach to ignition on the National Ignition Facility (NIF) is indirect drive. A schematic of an ignition target is shown in Figure 1. The laser beams are focused through laser entrance holes at each end of a high-Z cylindrical case, or hohlraum. The lasers irradiate the hohlraum walls producing x-rays that ablate and compress the fuel capsule in the center of the hohlraum. The hohlraum is made of Au, U, or other high-Z material. For ignition targets, the hohlraum is {approx}0.5 cm diameter by {approx}1 cm in length. The hohlraum absorbs the incident laser energy producing x-rays for symmetrically imploding the capsule. The fuel capsule is a {approx}2-mm-diameter spherical shell of CH, Be, or C filled with DT fuel. The DT fuel is in the form of a cryogenic layer on the inside of the capsule. X-rays ablate the outside of the capsule, producing a spherical implosion. The imploding shell stagnates in the center, igniting the DT fuel. NIC has overseen installation of all of the hardware for performing ignition experiments, including commissioning of approximately 50 diagnostic systems in NIF. The diagnostics measure scattered optical light, x-rays from the hohlraum over the energy range from 100 eV tomore » 500 keV, and x-rays, neutrons, and charged particles from the implosion. An example of a diagnostic is the Magnetic Recoil Spectrometer (MRS) built by a collaboration of scientists from MIT, UR-LLE, and LLNL shown in Figure 2. MRS measures the neutron spectrum from the implosion, providing information on the neutron yield and areal density that are metrics of the quality of the implosion. Experiments on NIF extend ICF research to unexplored regimes in target physics. NIF can produce more than 50 times the laser energy and more than 20 times the power of any previous ICF facility. Ignition scale hohlraum targets are three to four times larger than targets used at smaller facilities, and the ignition drive pulses are two to five times longer. The larger targets and longer pulse lengths produce unique plasma conditions for laser-plasma instabilities that could reduce hohlraum coupling efficiency. Initial experiments have demonstrated efficient coupling of laser energy to x-rays. X-ray drive greater than 300 eV has been measured in gas-filled ignition hohlraum and shows the expected scaling with laser energy and hohlraum scale size. Experiments are now optimizing capsule implosions for ignition. Ignition conditions require assembling the fuel with sufficient density and temperature for thermonuclear burn. X-rays ablate the outside of the capsule, accelerating and spherically compressing the capsule for assembling the fuel. The implosion stagnates, heating the central core and producing a hot spot that ignites and burns the surrounding fuel. The four main characteristics of the implosion are shell velocity, central hot spot shape, fuel adiabat, and mix. Experiments studying these four characteristics of implosions are used to optimize the implosion. Integrated experiments using cryogenic fuel layer experiments demonstrate the quality of the implosion as the optimization experiments progress. The final compressed fuel conditions are diagnosed by measuring the x-ray emission from the hot core and the neutrons and charged particles produced in the fusion reactions. Metrics of the quality of the implosion are the neutron yield and the shell areal density, as well as the size and shape of the core. The yield depends on the amount of fuel in the hot core and its temperature and is a gauge of the energy coupling to the fuel. The areal density, the density of the fuel times its thickness, diagnoses the fuel assembly, which is measured using the fraction of neutrons that are down scattered passing through the dense shell. The yield and fraction of down scattered neutrons, or shell rho-r, from the cryogenic layered implosions are shown in Figure 3. The different sets of data represent results after a series of implosion optimization experiments. Both yield and areal density show significant increases as a result of the optimization. The experimental Ignition Threshold Factor (ITFX) is a measure of the progress toward ignition. ITFX is analogous to the Lawson Criterion in Magnetic Fusion. Implosions have improved by over a factor of 50 since the first cryogenic layered experiments were done in September 2010. This increase is a measure of the progress made toward the ignition goal in the past year. Optimization experiments are planned in the coming year for continued improvement in implosion performance to achieve the ignition goal. In summary, NIF has made significant progress toward ignition in the 30 months since project completion. Diagnostics and all of the supporting equipment are in place for ignition experiments. The Ignition Campaign is under way as a national collaborative effort of all the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) science laboratories as well as international partners.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1034522
Report Number(s):
LLNL-TR-508411
TRN: US1200877
DOE Contract Number:  
W-7405-ENG-48
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; 42 ENGINEERING; CHARGED PARTICLES; COMMISSIONING; CRYOGENICS; ENERGY RANGE; HEATING; HOT SPOTS; IGNITION; IMPLOSIONS; LASERS; LAWSON CRITERION; METRICS; NEUTRONS; OPTIMIZATION; SECURITY; SPECTROMETERS; TARGETS; THICKNESS; US NATIONAL IGNITION FACILITY; VELOCITY

Citation Formats

Kauffman, R L. Progress Toward Ignition on the National Ignition Facility. United States: N. p., 2011. Web. doi:10.2172/1034522.
Kauffman, R L. Progress Toward Ignition on the National Ignition Facility. United States. doi:10.2172/1034522.
Kauffman, R L. Mon . "Progress Toward Ignition on the National Ignition Facility". United States. doi:10.2172/1034522. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1034522.
@article{osti_1034522,
title = {Progress Toward Ignition on the National Ignition Facility},
author = {Kauffman, R L},
abstractNote = {The principal approach to ignition on the National Ignition Facility (NIF) is indirect drive. A schematic of an ignition target is shown in Figure 1. The laser beams are focused through laser entrance holes at each end of a high-Z cylindrical case, or hohlraum. The lasers irradiate the hohlraum walls producing x-rays that ablate and compress the fuel capsule in the center of the hohlraum. The hohlraum is made of Au, U, or other high-Z material. For ignition targets, the hohlraum is {approx}0.5 cm diameter by {approx}1 cm in length. The hohlraum absorbs the incident laser energy producing x-rays for symmetrically imploding the capsule. The fuel capsule is a {approx}2-mm-diameter spherical shell of CH, Be, or C filled with DT fuel. The DT fuel is in the form of a cryogenic layer on the inside of the capsule. X-rays ablate the outside of the capsule, producing a spherical implosion. The imploding shell stagnates in the center, igniting the DT fuel. NIC has overseen installation of all of the hardware for performing ignition experiments, including commissioning of approximately 50 diagnostic systems in NIF. The diagnostics measure scattered optical light, x-rays from the hohlraum over the energy range from 100 eV to 500 keV, and x-rays, neutrons, and charged particles from the implosion. An example of a diagnostic is the Magnetic Recoil Spectrometer (MRS) built by a collaboration of scientists from MIT, UR-LLE, and LLNL shown in Figure 2. MRS measures the neutron spectrum from the implosion, providing information on the neutron yield and areal density that are metrics of the quality of the implosion. Experiments on NIF extend ICF research to unexplored regimes in target physics. NIF can produce more than 50 times the laser energy and more than 20 times the power of any previous ICF facility. Ignition scale hohlraum targets are three to four times larger than targets used at smaller facilities, and the ignition drive pulses are two to five times longer. The larger targets and longer pulse lengths produce unique plasma conditions for laser-plasma instabilities that could reduce hohlraum coupling efficiency. Initial experiments have demonstrated efficient coupling of laser energy to x-rays. X-ray drive greater than 300 eV has been measured in gas-filled ignition hohlraum and shows the expected scaling with laser energy and hohlraum scale size. Experiments are now optimizing capsule implosions for ignition. Ignition conditions require assembling the fuel with sufficient density and temperature for thermonuclear burn. X-rays ablate the outside of the capsule, accelerating and spherically compressing the capsule for assembling the fuel. The implosion stagnates, heating the central core and producing a hot spot that ignites and burns the surrounding fuel. The four main characteristics of the implosion are shell velocity, central hot spot shape, fuel adiabat, and mix. Experiments studying these four characteristics of implosions are used to optimize the implosion. Integrated experiments using cryogenic fuel layer experiments demonstrate the quality of the implosion as the optimization experiments progress. The final compressed fuel conditions are diagnosed by measuring the x-ray emission from the hot core and the neutrons and charged particles produced in the fusion reactions. Metrics of the quality of the implosion are the neutron yield and the shell areal density, as well as the size and shape of the core. The yield depends on the amount of fuel in the hot core and its temperature and is a gauge of the energy coupling to the fuel. The areal density, the density of the fuel times its thickness, diagnoses the fuel assembly, which is measured using the fraction of neutrons that are down scattered passing through the dense shell. The yield and fraction of down scattered neutrons, or shell rho-r, from the cryogenic layered implosions are shown in Figure 3. The different sets of data represent results after a series of implosion optimization experiments. Both yield and areal density show significant increases as a result of the optimization. The experimental Ignition Threshold Factor (ITFX) is a measure of the progress toward ignition. ITFX is analogous to the Lawson Criterion in Magnetic Fusion. Implosions have improved by over a factor of 50 since the first cryogenic layered experiments were done in September 2010. This increase is a measure of the progress made toward the ignition goal in the past year. Optimization experiments are planned in the coming year for continued improvement in implosion performance to achieve the ignition goal. In summary, NIF has made significant progress toward ignition in the 30 months since project completion. Diagnostics and all of the supporting equipment are in place for ignition experiments. The Ignition Campaign is under way as a national collaborative effort of all the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) science laboratories as well as international partners.},
doi = {10.2172/1034522},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2011},
month = {10}
}

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