Outlook for Laser Fusion
In 1974 an important experimental milestone was achieved in the development of laser fusion power. Laser driven implosions were achieved in which moderately high compressions (~ 100 fold) and fusion neutrons were produced. This is perhaps one of the most significant technical milestones since the development of the laser fusion concepts in 1960–61 (Figure 1). Only a few hundred ergs of energy were released in the best of these experiments, and the DT was imploded to densities of ≈ lg/cm3, whereas fusion energies of 1014ergs and densities of 1000 g/cm3 must be achieved for power production applications. Nonetheless, the results are significant in at least two respects. First a Lawson number of ~ 2 × 1012 and a DT temperature of ~ 1 keV were achieved. This is comparable to the performance of the best magnetic confinement approaches (Figure 2). Second, these experiments are substantially in agreement with our LASNEX laser implosion/fusion microexplosion calculations--which also predict the feasibility of laser initiated fusion micro explosions with sufficiently high efficiency for power production.
KeywordsElectron Runaway Neutron Production Laser Fusion Superthermal Electron Fusion Neutron
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