LLE Provides DT Fueling of Diagnostic Commissioning Targets for the National Ignition CampaignJune, 2010
In a steady march toward thermonuclear ignition and achievement of energy gain, the Laboratory for Laser Energetics has conducted inertial confinement fusion experiments since the early 1970’s. Inertial confinement fusion involves heating and compressing fusion fuel that is exposed to intense laser or particle beams. A small spherical target containing fusion fuel is subjected to intense irradiation by high-power-energy sources that implode the target, compressing the fuel while heating the central core to thermonuclear temperatures. During the fall of 2009 and into the spring of 2010, LLE successfully developed and tested a technique to fill room-temperature, glass targets with deuterium–tritium (DT) fuel to 10 atm as is required for diagnostic purposes at the National Ignition Facility (NIF).
In addition to supporting these particular NIF experiments, LLE can now fill DT targets for a variety of other experiments on both OMEGA and the NIF. The science and technology capabilities demonstrated by LLE’s successful completion of the Hoppe fill project provide several small facets that help ensure that a credible attempt at ignition at the National Ignition Facility will take place within the next year.