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Author ORCID ID is 0000000293697040
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  1. Polar-direct-drive exploding pushers are used as a high-yield, low-areal-density fusion product source at the National Ignition Facility with applications including diagnostic calibration, nuclear security, backlighting, electron-ion equilibration, and nucleosynthesis-relevant experiments. In this paper, two different paths to improving the performance of this platform are explored: (i) optimizing the laser drive, and (ii) optimizing the target. While the present study is specifically geared towards nucleosynthesis experiments, the results are generally applicable. Example data from T 2/ 3He-gas-filled implosions with trace deuterium are used to show that yield and ion temperature (Tion) from 1.6 mm-outer-diameter thin-glass-shell capsule implosions are improved at amore » set laser energy by switching from a ramped to a square laser pulse shape, and that increased laser energy further improves yield and Tion, although by factors lower than predicted by 1 D simulations. Using data from D2-3He-gas-filled implosions, yield at a set Tion is experimentally verified to increase with capsule size. Uniform D-3He-proton spectra from 3 mm-outer-diameter CH shell implosions demonstrate the utility of this platform for studying charged-particle-producing reactions relevant to stellar nucleosynthesis.« less
  2. Hydrodynamic mix of the ablator into the DT fuel layer and hot spot can be a critical performance limitation in inertial confinement fusion implosions. This mix results in increased radiation loss, cooling of the hot spot, and reduced neutron yield. To quantify the level of mix, we have developed a simple model that infers the level of contamination using the ratio of the measured x-ray emission to the neutron yield. The principal source for the performance limitation of the “low-foot” class of implosions appears to have been mix. As a result, lower convergence “high-foot” implosions are found to be lessmore » susceptible to mix, allowing velocities of >380 km/s to be achieved.« less
  3. Here, many astrophysical systems are effectively “collisionless,” that is, the mean free path for collisions between particles is much longer than the size of the system. The absence of particle collisions does not preclude shock formation, however, as shocks can be the result of plasma instabilities that generate and amplify electromagnetic fields. The magnetic fields required for shock formation may either be initially present, for example, in supernova remnants or young galaxies, or they may be self-generated in systems such as gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). In the case of GRB outflows, the Weibel instability is a candidate mechanism for the generationmore » of sufficiently strong magnetic fields to produce shocks. In experiments on the OMEGA Laser, we have demonstrated a quasi-collisionless system that is optimized for the study of the non-linear phase of Weibel instability growth. Using a proton probe to directly image electromagnetic fields, we measure Weibel-generated magnetic fields that grow in opposing, initially unmagnetized plasma flows. The collisionality of the system is determined from coherent Thomson scattering measurements, and the data are compared to similar measurements of a fully collisionless system. The strong, persistent Weibel growth observed here serves as a diagnostic for exploring large-scale magnetic field amplification and the microphysics present in the collisional–collisionless transition.« less
  4. Here, this paper describes the development of a platform to study astrophysically relevant nuclear reactions using inertial-confinement fusion implosions on the OMEGA and National Ignition Facility laser facilities, with a particular focus on optimizing the implosions to study charged-particle- producing reactions. Primary requirements on the platform are high yield, for high statistics in the fusion product measurements, combined with low areal density, to allow the charged fusion products to escape. This is optimally achieved with direct-drive exploding pusher implosions using thin-glass-shell capsules. Mitigation strategies to eliminate a possible target sheath potential which would accelerate the emitted ions are discussed. Themore » potential impact of kinetic effects on the implosions is also considered. The platform is initially employed to study the complementary T(t,2n)α, T( 3He,np)α and 3He( 3He,2p)α reactions. Proof-of-principle results from the first experiments demonstrating the ability to accurately measure the energy and yields of charged particles are presented. Lessons learned from these experiments will be used in studies of other reactions. Ultimately, the goals are to explore thermonuclear reaction rates and fundamental nuclear physics in stellarlike plasma environments, and to push this new frontier of nuclear astrophysics into unique regimes not reachable through existing platforms, with thermal ion velocity distributions, plasma screening, and low reactant energies.« less
  5. The universe is permeated by magnetic fields, with strengths ranging from a femtogauss in the voids between the filaments of galaxy clusters to several teragauss in black holes and neutron stars. The standard model behind cosmological magnetic fields is the nonlinear amplification of seed fields via turbulent dynamo to the values observed. We have conceived experiments that aim to demonstrate and study the turbulent dynamo mechanism in the laboratory. Here, we describe the design of these experiments through simulation campaigns using FLASH, a highly capable radiation magnetohydrodynamics code that we have developed, and large-scale three-dimensional simulations on the Mira supercomputermore » at the Argonne National Laboratory. The simulation results indicate that the experimental platform may be capable of reaching a turbulent plasma state and determining the dynamo amplification. As a result, we validate and compare our numerical results with a small subset of experimental data using synthetic diagnostics.« less
  6. Here, pinhole imaging of large (mm scale) carbon-deuterium (CD) plasmas by proton self-emission has been used for the first time to study the microphysics of shock formation, which is of astrophysical relevance. The 3 MeV deuterium-deuterium (DD) fusion proton self-emission from these plasmas is imaged using a novel pinhole imaging system, with up to five different 1 mm diameter pinholes positioned 25 cm from target-chamber center. CR39 is used as the detector medium, positioned at 100 cm distance from the pinhole for a magnification of 4×. A Wiener deconvolution algorithm is numerically demonstrated and used to interpret the images. Whenmore » the spatial morphology is known, this algorithm accurately reproduces the size of features larger than about half the pinhole diameter. For these astrophysical plasma experiments on the National Ignition Facility, this provides a strong constraint on simulation modeling of the experiment.« less

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