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Pulsed-power-driven cylindrical liner implosions of laser preheated fuel magnetized with an axial fielda)
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The radial convergence required to reach fusion conditions is considerably higher for cylindrical than for spherical implosions since the volume is proportional to versus , respectively. Fuel magnetization and preheat significantly lowers the required radial convergence enabling cylindrical implosions to become an attractive path toward generating fusion conditions. Numerical simulations are presented indicating that significant fusion yields may be obtained by pulsed-power-driven implosions of cylindrical metal liners onto magnetized and preheated (100–500 eV) deuterium-tritium (DT) fuel. Yields exceeding 100 kJ could be possible on Z at 25 MA, while yields exceeding 50 MJ could be possible with a more advanced pulsed power machine delivering 60 MA. These implosions occur on a much shorter time scale than previously proposed implosions, about 100 ns as compared to about for magnetic target fusion(MTF) [I. R. Lindemuth and R. C. Kirkpatrick, Nucl. Fusion23, 263 (1983)]. Consequently the optimal initial fuel density (1–5 mg/cc) is considerably higher than for MTF. Thus the final fuel density is high enough to axially trap most of the -particles for cylinders of approximately 1 cm in length with a purely axial magnetic field, i.e., no closed field configuration is required for ignition. According to the simulations, an initial axial magnetic field is partially frozen into the highly conducting preheated fuel and is compressed to more than 100 MG. This final field is strong enough to inhibit both electron thermal conduction and the escape of -particles in the radial direction. Analytical and numerical calculations indicate that the DT can be heated to 200–500 eV with 5–10 kJ of green laser light, which could be provided by the Z-Beamlet laser. The magneto-Rayleigh-Taylor (MRT) instability poses the greatest threat to this approach to fusion. Two-dimensional Lasnex simulations indicate that the liner walls must have a substantial initial thickness (10–20% of the radius) so that they maintain integrity throughout the implosion. The Z and Z-Beamlet experiments are now being planned to test the various components of this concept, e.g., the laser heating of the fuel and the robustness of liner implosions to the MRT instability.
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