Laser-driven inertial confinement fusion: principles, status and perspective for energy production after the achievement of ignition at the NIF

Institutskolloquium

  • Datum: 15.09.2023
  • Uhrzeit: 10:30 - 12:00
  • Vortragender: Prof. Dr. Stefano Atzeni
  • Stefano Atzeni was Professor of Physics at the Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, and after his retirement has joined Focused Energy GmbH in Darmstadt, Germany, as Consulting Senior Scientist.
  • Ort: IPP Garching
  • Raum: Seminarraum L6, 2. Stock Süd + Zoom
  • Gastgeber: IPP
  • Kontakt: karl.krieger@ipp.mpg.de
Laser-driven inertial confinement fusion: principles, status and perspective for energy production after the achievement of ignition at the NIF
On December 5, 2022, thermonuclear ignition of a deuterium-tritium mixture was demonstrated in an ICF experiment at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s NIF laser. This result aroused great interest even outside the scientific community and generated great expectations about the future production of electricity by “inertial fusion energy (IFE)”. In this talk, I will first introduce the essential ingredients of any ICF scheme, namely strong fuel compression and “hot spot ignition”, with the latter requiring a pressure of 400-500 Gbar to be achieved. In “conventional” ICF schemes, a high-pressure hot spot, surrounded by strongly compressed plasma, is generated by the laser driven implosion of a hollow spherical Deuterium-Tritium fuel shell. Success of the scheme requires overcoming issues concerning the efficient coupling of the laser energy to the fuel, low entropy compression of most of the fuel, control of implosion symmetry, and mitigation of hydrodynamic instabilities. I will also schematically illustrate “direct“ and “indirect” drive schemes, and “advanced” ignition schemes. I will then report on the progress of the experimental research addressing the above issues, and culminating in the achievement of ignition, using an “indirect-drive” scheme and conventional central hot-spot ignition. Finally, I will present my personal vision on the future of ICF, and the long, difficult, but exciting path to IFE. In this context, I will briefly report on Focused Energy approach, based on laser direct-drive and an advanced ignition scheme.


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