[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We discuss the possible impacts of a new magnetized liner inertial fusion concept on magneto-inertial fusion approaches to fusion energy. Experiments in the last 1.5 years have already shown direct evidence of magnetic flux compression, a highly magnetized fusing fuel, significant compressional heating, a compressed cylindrical fusing plasma, and significant fusion yield. While these exciting results demonstrate several key principles behind magneto-inertial fusion, more work in the coming years will be needed to demonstrate that such targets can scale to ignition and high yield. We argue that justifying significant investment in pulsed inertial fusion energy beyond target development should require well-understood, significant fusion yields to be demonstrated in single-shot experiments. We also caution that even once target ideas and fusion power plants have been demonstrated, historical trends suggest it would still be decades before fusion could materially impact worldwide energy production.
Journal of Fusion Energy 11/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10894-015-0023-4 · 0.99 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Large diameter multi-shell gas puffs rapidly imploded by high current (∼20 MA, ∼100 ns) on the Z generator of Sandia National Laboratories are able to produce high-intensity Krypton K-shell emission at ∼13 keV. Efficiently radiating at these high photon energies is a significant challenge which requires the careful design and optimization of the gas distribution. To facilitate this, we hydrodynamically model the gas flow out of the nozzle and then model its implosion using a 3-dimensional resistive, radiative MHD code (GORGON). This approach enables us to iterate between modeling the implosion and gas flow from the nozzle to optimize radiative output from this combined system. Guided by our implosion calculations, we have designed gas profiles that help mitigate disruption from Magneto-Rayleigh-Taylor implosion instabilities, while preserving sufficient kinetic energy to thermalize to the high temperatures required for K-shell emission.
Physics of Plasmas 05/2015; 22(5):056316. DOI:10.1063/1.4921154 · 2.14 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: By magnetizing the fusion fuel in inertial confinement fusion (ICF) systems, the required stagnation pressure and density can be relaxed dramatically. This happens because the magnetic field insulates the hot fuel from the cold pusher and traps the charged fusion burn products. This trapping allows the burn products to deposit their energy in the fuel, facilitating plasma self-heating. Here, we report on a comprehensive theory of this trapping in a cylindrical DD plasma magnetized with a purely axial magnetic field. Using this theory, we are able to show that the secondary fusion reactions can be used to infer the magnetic field-radius product, BR, during fusion burn. This parameter, not ρR, is the primary confinement parameter in magnetized ICF. Using this method, we analyze data from recent Magnetized Liner Inertial Fusion experiments conducted on the Z machine at Sandia National Laboratories. We show that in these experiments BR ≈ 0.34(+0.14/−0.06) MG cm, a ∼ 14× increase in BR from the initial value, and confirming that the DD-fusion tritons are magnetized at stagnation. This is the first experimental verification of charged burn product magnetization facilitated by compression of an initial seed magnetic flux.
Physics of Plasmas 05/2015; 22(5):056312. DOI:10.1063/1.4920948 · 2.14 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The magnetized liner inertial fusion concept [S. A. Slutz et al., Phys. Plasmas
17, 056303 (2010)] utilizes a magnetic field and laser heating to relax the pressure requirements of inertial confinement fusion. The first experiments to test the concept [M. R. Gomez et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 155003 (2014)] were conducted utilizing the 19 MA, 100 ns Z machine, the 2.5 kJ, 1 TW Z Beamlet laser, and the 10 T Applied B-field on Z system. Despite an estimated implosion velocity of only 70 km/s in these experiments, electron and ion temperatures at stagnation were as high as 3 keV, and thermonuclear deuterium-deuterium neutron yields up to 2 × 1012 have been produced. X-ray emission from the fuel at stagnation had widths ranging from 50 to 110 μm over a roughly 80% of the axial extent of the target (6–8 mm) and lasted approximately 2 ns. X-ray yields from these experiments are consistent with a stagnation density of the hot fuel equal to 0.2–0.4 g/cm3. In these experiments, up to 5 × 1010 secondary deuterium-tritium neutrons were produced. Given that the areal density of the plasma was approximately 1–2 mg/cm2, this indicates the stagnation plasma was significantly magnetized, which is consistent with the anisotropy observed in the deuterium-tritium neutron spectra. Control experiments where the laser and/or magnetic field were not utilized failed to produce stagnation temperatures greater than 1 keV and primary deuterium-deuterium yields greater than 1010. An additional control experiment where the fuel contained a sufficient dopant fraction to substantially increase radiative losses also failed to produce a relevant stagnation temperature. The results of these experiments are consistent with a thermonuclear neutron source.
Physics of Plasmas 05/2015; 22(5):056306. DOI:10.1063/1.4919394 · 2.14 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Argon gas puffs have produced 330 kJ ± 9% of x-ray radiation above 3 keV photon energy in fast z-pinch implosions, with remarkably reproducible K-shell spectra and power pulses. This reproducibility in x-ray production is particularly significant in light of the variations in instability evolution observed between experiments. Soft x-ray power measurements and K-shell line ratios from a time-resolved spectrum at peak x-ray power suggest that plasma gradients in these high-mass pinches may limit the K-shell radiating mass, K-shell power, and K-shell yield from high-current gas puffs.
Physics of Plasmas 02/2015; 22(2):020706. DOI:10.1063/1.4913350 · 2.14 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Presented are voltage measurements taken near the load region on the Z pulsed-power accelerator using an inductive voltage monitor (IVM). Specifically, the IVM was connected to, and thus monitored the voltage at, the bottom level of the accelerator's vacuum double post-hole convolute. Additional voltage and current measurements were taken at the accelerator's vacuum-insulator stack (at a radius of 1.6 m) by using standard D -dot and B -dot probes, respectively. During postprocessing, the measurements taken at the stack were translated to the location of the IVM measurements by using a lossless propagation model of the Z accelerator's magnetically insulated transmission lines (MITLs) and a lumped inductor model of the vacuum post-hole convolute. Across a wide variety of experiments conducted on the Z accelerator, the voltage histories obtained from the IVM and the lossless propagation technique agree well in overall shape and magnitude. However, large-amplitude, high-frequency oscillations are more pronounced in the IVM records. It is unclear whether these larger oscillations represent true voltage oscillations at the convolute or if they are due to noise pickup and/or transit-time effects and other resonant modes in the IVM. Results using a transit-time-correction technique and Fourier analysis support the latter. Regardless of which interpretation is correct, both true voltage oscillations and the excitement of resonant modes could be the result of transient electrical breakdowns in the post-hole convolute, though more information is required to determine definitively if such breakdowns occurred. Despite the larger oscillations in the IVM records, the general agreement found between the lossless propagation results and the results of the IVM shows that large voltages are transmitted efficiently through the MITLs on Z . These results are complementary to previous studies [R. D. McBride et al., Phys. Rev. ST Accel. Beams 13, 120401 (2010)] that showed efficient transmission of large currents through the MITLs on Z . Taken together, the two studies demonstrate the overall efficient delivery of very large electrical powers through the MITLs on Z .
Physical Review Special Topics - Accelerators and Beams 11/2014; 17(12). DOI:10.1103/PhysRevSTAB.17.120401 · 1.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Magnetizing the fuel in inertial confinement fusion relaxes ignition requirements by reducing thermal conductivity and changing the physics of burn product confinement. Diagnosing the level of fuel magnetization during burn is critical to understanding target performance in magneto-inertial fusion (MIF) implosions. In pure deuterium fusion plasma, 1.01 MeV tritons are emitted during deuterium-deuterium fusion and can undergo secondary deuterium-tritium reactions before exiting the fuel. Increasing the fuel magnetization elongates the path lengths through the fuel of some of the tritons, enhancing their probability of reaction. Based on this feature, a method to diagnose fuel magnetization using the ratio of overall deuterium-tritium to deuterium-deuterium neutron yields is developed. Analysis of anisotropies in the secondary neutron energy spectra further constrain the measurement. Secondary reactions also are shown to provide an upper bound for the volumetric fuel-pusher mix in MIF. The analysis is applied to recent MIF experiments [M. R. Gomez et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 155003 (2014)] on the Z Pulsed Power Facility, indicating that significant magnetic confinement of charged burn products was achieved and suggesting a relatively low-mix environment. Both of these are essential features of future ignition-scale MIF designs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This Letter presents results from the first fully integrated experiments testing the magnetized liner inertial fusion concept [S. A. Slutz et al., Phys. Plasmas 17, 056303 (2010)], in which a cylinder of deuterium gas with a preimposed 10 Taxial magnetic field is heated by Z beamlet, a 2.5 kJ, 1 TW laser, and magnetically imploded by a 19 MA, 100 ns rise time current on the Z facility. Despite a predicted peak implosion velocity of only 70 km/s, the fuel reaches a stagnation temperature of approximately 3 keV, with T-e approximate to T-i, and produces up to 2 x 10(12) thermonuclear deuterium-deuterium neutrons. X-ray emission indicates a hot fuel region with full width at half maximum ranging from 60 to 120 mu m over a 6 mm height and lasting approximately 2 ns. Greater than 10(10) secondary deuterium-tritium neutrons were observed, indicating significant fuel magnetization given that the estimated radial areal density of the plasma is only 2 mg/cm(2).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Advancements have been made in the diagnostic techniques to measure accurately the total radiated x-ray yield and power from z-pinch implosion experiments at the Z machine with high accuracy. The Z machine is capable of outputting 2 MJ and 330 TW of x-ray yield and power, and accurately measuring these quantities is imperative. We will describe work over the past several years which include the development of new diagnostics, improvements to existing diagnostics, and implementation of automated data analysis routines. A set of experiments on the Z machine were conducted in which the load and machine configuration were held constant. During this shot series, it was observed that the total z-pinch x-ray emission power determined from the two common techniques for inferring the x-ray power, a Kimfol filtered x-ray diode diagnostic and the total power and energy diagnostic, gave 449 TW and 323 TW, respectively. Our analysis shows the latter to be the more accurate interpretation. More broadly, the comparison demonstrates the necessity to consider spectral response and field of view when inferring x-ray powers from z-pinch sources.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Imploding wire arrays on the 20 MA Z generator have recently provided some of the most powerful and energetic laboratory sources of multi-keV photons, including ∼375 kJ of Al K-shell emission (hν ∼ 1–2 keV), ∼80 kJ of stainless steel K-shell emission (hν ∼ 5–9 keV) and a kJ-level of Mo K-shell emission (hν ∼ 17 keV). While the global implosion dynamics of these different wire arrays are very similar, the physical process that dominates the emission from these x-ray sources fall into three broad categories. Al wire arrays produce a column of plasma with densities up to ∼3 × 1021 ions/cm3, where opacity inhibits the escape of K-shell photons. Significant structure from instabilities can reduce the density and increase the surface area, therefore increase the K-shell emission. In contrast, stainless steel wire arrays operate in a regime where achieving a high pinch temperature (achieved by thermalizing a high implosion kinetic energy) is critical and, while opacity is present, it has less impact on the pinch emissivity. At higher photon energies, line emission associated with inner shell ionization due to energetic electrons becomes important.
Physics of Plasmas 05/2014; 21(5):056708. DOI:10.1063/1.4876621 · 2.14 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent experiments at the Sandia National Laboratories Z Facility have, for the first time, studied the implosion dynamics of magnetized liner inertial fusion (MagLIF) style liners that were pre-imposed with a uniform axial magnetic field. As reported [T. J. Awe et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 235005 (2013)] when premagnetized with a 7 or 10 T axial field, these liners developed 3D-helix-like hydrodynamic instabilities; such instabilities starkly contrast with the azimuthally correlated magneto-Rayleigh-Taylor (MRT) instabilities that have been consistently observed in many earlier non-premagnetized experiments. The helical structure persisted throughout the implosion, even though the azimuthal drive field greatly exceeded the expected axial field at the liner's outer wall for all but the earliest stages of the experiment. Whether this modified instability structure has practical importance for magneto-inertial fusion concepts depends primarily on whether the modified instability structure is more stable than standard azimuthally correlated MRT instabilities. In this manuscript, we discuss the evolution of the helix-like instability observed on premagnetized liners. While a first principles explanation of this observation remains elusive, recent 3D simulations suggest that if a small amplitude helical perturbation can be seeded on the liner's outer surface, no further influence from the axial field is required for the instability to grow.
Physics of Plasmas 05/2014; 21(5):056303. DOI:10.1063/1.4872331 · 2.14 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aluminum wire array z pinches imploded on the Z generator are an extremely bright source of 1–2 keV radiation, with close to 400 kJ radiated at photon energies >1 keV and more than 50 kJ radiated in a single line (Al Ly-α). Opacity plays a critical role in the dynamics and K-shell radiation efficiency of these pinches. Where significant structure is present in the stagnated pinch this acts to reduce the effective opacity of the system as demonstrated by direct analysis of spectra. Analysis of time-integrated broadband spectra (0.8–25 keV) indicates electron temperatures ranging from a few 100 eV to a few keV are present, indicative of substantial temperature gradients.
Physics of Plasmas 03/2014; 21(3):031201. DOI:10.1063/1.4865224 · 2.14 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent experiments on the Z accelerator have produced high-energy (17 keV) inner-shell K-alpha emission from molybdenum wire array z-pinches. Extensive absolute power and spectroscopic diagnostics along with collisional-radiative modeling enable detailed investigation into the roles of thermal, hot electron, and fluorescence processes in the production of high-energy x-rays. We show that changing the dimensions of the arrays can impact the proportion of thermal and non-thermal K-shell x-rays. (C) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.
Physics of Plasmas 02/2014; 21(3). DOI:10.1063/1.4866161 · 2.14 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Novel experimental data are reported that reveal helical instability formation on imploding z-pinch liners that are premagnetized with an axial field. Such instabilities differ dramatically from the mostly azimuthally symmetric instabilities that form on unmagnetized liners. The helical structure persists at nearly constant pitch as the liner implodes. This is surprising since, at the liner surface, the azimuthal drive field presumably dwarfs the axial field for all but the earliest stages of the experiment. These fundamentally 3D results provide a unique and challenging test for 3D-magnetohydrodynamics simulations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent experiments at the 20 MA Z Accelerator have demonstrated, for the
first time, implosion velocities up to 110-130 cm/μs in imploding
stainless steel wire arrays. These velocities, the largest inferred in a
magnetically driven implosion, lead to ion densities of 2 × 1020
cm-3 with electron temperatures of ~5 keV. These plasma conditions have
resulted in significant increases in the K-shell radiated output of 5-10
keV photons, radiating powers of >30 TW and yields >80 kJ, making
it the brightest laboratory x-ray source in this spectral region. These
values represent a doubling of the peak power and a 30% increase in the
yield relative to previous studies. The experiments also included wire
arrays with slower implosions, which were observed to have lower
temperatures and reduced K-shell output. These colder pinches, however,
radiated 260 TW in the soft x-ray region, making them one of the
brightest soft x-ray sources available.
Physics of Plasmas 10/2013; 20(10):3116-. DOI:10.1063/1.4823711 · 2.14 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple experimental campaigns have been executed to study the implosions of initially solid beryllium (Be) liners (tubes) on the Z pulsed-power accelerator. The implosions were driven by current pulses that rose from 0 to 20 MA in either 100 or 200 ns (200 ns for pulse shaping experiments). These studies were conducted in support of the recently proposed Magnetized Liner Inertial Fusion concept [Slutz et al., Phys. Plasmas 17, 056303 (2010)], as well as for exploring novel equation-of-state measurement techniques. The experiments used thick-walled liners that had an aspect ratio (initial outer radius divided by initial wall thickness) of either 3.2, 4, or 6. From these studies, we present three new primary results. First, we present radiographic images of imploding Be liners, where each liner contained a thin aluminum sleeve for enhancing the contrast and visibility of the liner's inner surface in the images. These images allow us to assess the stability of the liner's inner surface more accurately and more directly than was previously possible. Second, we present radiographic images taken early in the implosion (prior to any motion of the liner's inner surface) of a shockwave propagating radially inward through the liner wall. Radial mass density profiles from these shock compression experiments are contrasted with profiles from experiments where the Z accelerator's pulse shaping capabilities were used to achieve shockless (“quasi-isentropic”) liner compression. Third, we present “micro-” measurements of azimuthal magnetic field penetration into the initially vacuum-filled interior of a shocked liner. Our measurements and simulations reveal that the penetration commences shortly after the shockwave breaks out from the liner's inner surface. The field then accelerates this low-density “precursor” plasma to the axis of symmetry.
Physics of Plasmas 05/2013; 20(5). DOI:10.1063/1.4803079 · 2.14 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: form only given. We have reestablished gas puff z-pinch capability on Sandia's 20 MA Z machine, including a Sandia-operated driver system and an imaging interferometer to characterize nozzle mass flow . Initial experiments have focused on developing a 3 keV Ar K-shell x-ray source. We have pursued a design-driven approach to planning these experiments, utilizing numerical simulation to predict Ar K-shell yield for various nozzle mass profile configurations. In particular, we study coupling to the generator and how the distribution of mass between the two shells impacts magnetic Rayleigh-Taylor instability evolution. Two-dimensional radiation-magneto-hydrodynamic (MHD) simulations at NRL for a number of density profiles produced by the nozzle have predicted yields in excess of 300 kJ, and indicated that a 1:1.6 outer-to innershell mass ratio would produce the most stable implosion with high enough temperature to optimize Ar K-shell output . This result was also consistent with 3D MHD modeling using the Gorgon code  at Sandia. Both models used tabulated non-LTE atomic models for Ar K-shell photon emission. We will present Z experimental data from the first gas puff shots on the accelerator since 2006, and compare these to the numerical models. Spectral output is measured from 1-20 keV. Electrical current measurements at different positions along the power flow section provide information on current coupling to the load. Time-gated pinhole imaging and radially-resolved spectroscopy indicate ~60 cm/μs implosion velocities and >1 keV electron temperatures.
Plasma Science (ICOPS), 2013 Abstracts IEEE International Conference on; 01/2013