Electrical & Computer Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version



PHYSICAL REVIEW E 108, 035209 (2023). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.108.035209


Used by permission.


Laser-direct-drive fusion target designs with solid deuterium-tritium (DT) fuel, a high-Z gradient-density pusher shell (GDPS), and a Au-coated foam layer have been investigated through both 1D and 2D radiationhydrodynamic simulations. Compared with conventional low-Z ablators and DT-push-on-DT targets, these GDPS targets possess certain advantages of being instability-resistant implosions that can be high adiabat (α ≽ 8) and low hot-spot and pusher-shell convergence (CRhs ≈22 and CRPS ≈17), and have a low implosion velocity (vimp < 3 × 107 cm/s). Using symmetric drive with laser energies of 1.9 to 2.5 MJ, 1D LILAC simulations of these GDPS implosions can result in neutron yields corresponding to ≳50−MJ energy, even with reduced laser absorption due to the cross-beam energy transfer (CBET) effect. Two-dimensional DRACO simulations show that these GDPS targets can still ignite and deliver neutron yields from 4 to ∼10 MJ even if CBET is present, while traditional DT-push-on-DT targets normally fail due to the CBET-induced reduction of ablation pressure. If CBET is mitigated, these GDPS targets are expected to produce neutron yields of >20 MJ at a driven laser energy of ∼2 MJ. The key factors behind the robust ignition and moderate energy gain of such GDPS implosions are as follows: (1) The high initial density of the high-Z pusher shell can be placed at a very high adiabat while the DT fuel is maintained at a relatively low-entropy state; therefore, such implosions can still provide enough compression ρR >1 g/cm2 for sufficient confinement; (2) the high-Z layer significantly reduces heat-conduction loss from the hot spot since thermal conductivity scales as ∼1/Z; and (3) possible radiation trapping may offer an additional advantage for reducing energy loss from such high-Z targets.