[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have developed conceptual designs of two petawatt-class pulsed-power accelerators: Z 300 and Z 800. The designs are based on an accelerator architecture that is founded on two concepts: single-stage electrical-pulse compression and impedance matching [Phys. Rev. ST Accel. Beams 10, 030401 (2007)]. The prime power source of each machine consists of 90 linear-transformer-driver (LTD) modules. Each module comprises LTD cavities connected electrically in series, each of which is powered by 5-GW LTD bricks connected electrically in parallel. (A brick comprises a single switch and two capacitors in series.) Six water-insulated radial-transmission-line impedance transformers transport the power generated by the modules to a six-level vacuum-insulator stack. The stack serves as the accelerator’s water-vacuum interface. The stack is connected to six conical outer magnetically insulated vacuum transmission lines (MITLs), which are joined in parallel at a 10-cm radius by a triple-post-hole vacuum convolute. The convolute sums the electrical currents at the outputs of the six outer MITLs, and delivers the combined current to a single short inner MITL. The inner MITL transmits the combined current to the accelerator’s physics-package load. Z 300 is 35 m in diameter and stores 48 MJ of electrical energy in its LTD capacitors. The accelerator generates 320 TW of electrical power at the output of the LTD system, and delivers 48 MA in 154 ns to a magnetized-liner inertial-fusion (MagLIF) target [Phys. Plasmas 17, 056303 (2010)]. The peak electrical power at the MagLIF target is 870 TW, which is the highest power throughout the accelerator. Power amplification is accomplished by the centrally located vacuum section, which serves as an intermediate inductive-energy-storage device. The principal goal of Z 300 is to achieve thermonuclear ignition; i.e., a fusion yield that exceeds the energy transmitted by the accelerator to the liner. 2D magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations suggest Z 300 will deliver 4.3 MJ to the liner, and achieve a yield on the order of 18 MJ. Z 800 is 52 m in diameter and stores 130 MJ. This accelerator generates 890 TW at the output of its LTD system, and delivers 65 MA in 113 ns to a MagLIF target. The peak electrical power at the MagLIF liner is 2500 TW. The principal goal of Z 800 is to achieve high-yield thermonuclear fusion; i.e., a yield that exceeds the energy initially stored by the accelerator’s capacitors. 2D MHD simulations suggest Z 800 will deliver 8.0 MJ to the liner, and achieve a yield on the order of 440 MJ. Z 300 and Z 800, or variations of these accelerators, will allow the international high-energy-density- physics community to conduct advanced inertial-confinement-fusion, radiation-physics, material-physics, and laboratory-astrophysics experiments over heretofore-inaccessible parameter regimes.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Physical Review Special Topics - Accelerators and Beams
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this paper, we explore magnetized liner inertial fusion (MagLIF) [S. A.
Slutz et al., Phys. Plasmas 17, 056303 (2010)] using a semi-analytic model [R.
D. McBride and S. A. Slutz, Phys. Plasmas 22, 052708 (2015)]. Specifically, we
present simulation results from this model that: (a) illustrate the parameter
space, energetics, and overall system efficiencies of MagLIF; (b) demonstrate
the dependence of radiative loss rates on the radial fraction of the fuel that
is preheated; (c) explore some of the recent experimental results of the MagLIF
program at Sandia National Laboratories [M. R. Gomez et al., Phys. Rev. Lett.
113, 155003 (2014)]; (d) highlight the experimental challenges presently facing
the MagLIF program; and (e) demonstrate how increases to the preheat energy,
fuel density, axial magnetic field, and drive current could affect future
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Physics of Plasmas
[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.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of Fusion Energy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Radial wire array Z-pinches, where wires are positioned radially outward from a central cathode to a concentric anode, can act as a compact bright X-ray source that could potentially be used to drive a hohlraum. Experiments were performed on the 7-MA Saturn generator using radial wire arrays. These experiments studied a number of potential risks in scaling radial wire arrays up from the 1-MA level, where they have been shown to be a promising compact X-ray source. Data indicate that at 7 MA, radial wire arrays can radiate ~9 TW with 10-ns full-width at half-maximum from a compact pinch.
No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: By varying current-loss circuit parameters, the Mach2-tabular collisional radiative equilibrium 2-D radiation magnetohydrodynamic model was tuned to reproduce the radiative and electrical properties of three recent argon gas-puff experiments (same initial conditions) performed on the Z machine at Sandia National Laboratories. The model indicates that there were current losses occurring near or within the diode region of the Z machine during the stagnation phase of the implosion. The “good” simulation reproduces the experimental K-shell powers, K-shell yields, total powers, percentage of emission radiated in α lines, size of the K-shell emission region, and the average electron temperature near the time-of-peak K-shell power. The calculated atomic populations, ion temperatures, and radial velocities are used as input to a detailed multifrequency ray-trace radiation transport model that includes the Doppler effect. This model is employed to construct time-, space-, and energy-resolved synthetic spectra. The role the Doppler effect likely plays in the experiments is demonstrated by comparing synthetic spectra generated with and without this effect.
No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science
[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.
No preview · Article · May 2015 · Physics of Plasmas
[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.
Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Physics of Plasmas
[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.
No preview · Article · May 2015 · Physics of Plasmas
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Self-magnetically insulated transmission lines (MITLs) connect pulsed-power drivers with a load. Although the technology was originally developed in the 1970s and is widely used today in super power generators, failure of the technology is the principal limitation on the power that can be delivered to an experiment. We address issues that are often overlooked, rejected after inadequate simulations, or covered by overly conservative assumptions: (i) electron retrapping in coupling MITLs to loads, (ii) the applicability of collisionless versus collisional electron flow, (iii) power transport efficiency as a function of the geometry at the beginning of the MITL, (iv) gap closure and when gap closure can be neglected, and (v) the role of negative ions in causing anode plasmas and enhancing current losses. We suggest a practical set of conservative design requirements for self-magnetically insulated electron flow based on the results discussed in this paper and on previously published results. The requirements are not necessarily severe constraints in all MITL applications; however, each of the 18 suggested requirements should be examined in the design of a MITL and in the investigation of excessive losses.
No preview · Article · Mar 2015 · Physical Review Special Topics - Accelerators and Beams
[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.
No preview · Article · Feb 2015 · Physics of Plasmas
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The refurbished Z machine at Sandia National Laboratories has been successfully configured to drive gas-puff Z pinches. A series of experiments using Ar loads produced K-shell yields of 330 ± 9% kJ, with highly reproducible K-shell spectra and power pulses. Using spectroscopic and power data, we are able to constrain the properties of both the cold, non-K-shell radiating mass as well as the hot K-shell component of the pinch plasma. As in previous gas-puff shots on the original version of Z, only about 1/4 to 1/3 of the load mass was heated to temperatures sufficient to produce K-shell x-rays.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Radiation magnetohydrodynamic
r-z simulations are performed of recent Ar shots on the refurbished Z generator to examine the effective ion temperature as determined from the observed line width of the He-γ line. While many global radiation properties can be matched to experimental results, the Doppler shifts due to velocity gradients at stagnation cannot reproduce the large experimentally determined width corresponding to an effective ion temperature of 50 keV. Ion viscous heating or magnetic bubbles are considered, but understanding the width remains an unsolved challenge.
[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 .
Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Physical Review Special Topics - Accelerators and Beams
[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.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Physical Review Letters
[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).
No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Physical Review Letters
[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.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Review of Scientific Instruments
[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.
Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Physics of Plasmas
[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.
No preview · Article · May 2014 · Physics of Plasmas