Charged-Particle Probing of X-ray–Driven Inertial-Fusion Implosions

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Science  05 Mar 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5970, pp. 1231-1235
DOI: 10.1126/science.1185747

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Ignition Set to Go

One aim of the National Ignition Facility is to implode a capsule containing a deuterium-tritium fuel mix and initiate a fusion reaction. With 192 intense laser beams focused into a centimeter-scale cavity, a major challenge has been to create a symmetric implosion and the necessary temperatures within the cavity for ignition to be realized (see the Perspective by Norreys). Glenzer et al. (p. 1228, published online 28 January) now show that these conditions can be met, paving the way for the next step of igniting a fuel-filled capsule. Furthermore, Li et al. (p. 1231, published online 28 January) show how charged particles can be used to characterize and measure the conditions within the imploding capsule. The high energies and temperature realized can also be used to model astrophysical and other extreme energy processes in a laboratory settings.