Symmetric Inertial Confinement Fusion Implosions at Ultra-High Laser Energies

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Science  05 Mar 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5970, pp. 1228-1231
DOI: 10.1126/science.1185634

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Indirect-drive hohlraum experiments at the National Ignition Facility have demonstrated symmetric capsule implosions at unprecedented laser drive energies of 0.7 megajoule. One hundred and ninety-two simultaneously fired laser beams heat ignition-emulate hohlraums to radiation temperatures of 3.3 million kelvin, compressing 1.8-millimeter-diameter capsules by the soft x-rays produced by the hohlraum. Self-generated plasma optics gratings on either end of the hohlraum tune the laser power distribution in the hohlraum, which produces a symmetric x-ray drive as inferred from the shape of the capsule self-emission. These experiments indicate that the conditions are suitable for compressing deuterium-tritium–filled capsules, with the goal of achieving burning fusion plasmas and energy gain in the laboratory.

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