July 16, 2023


New technique may help achieve mass production fusion energy (University of Rochester, 7/15/23)

Dynamic shell formation is an alternative method to create targets in which a liquid droplet of deuterium and tritium is injected into a foam capsule. When bombarded by laser pulses, the capsule develops into a spherical shell, then implodes and collapses, resulting in ignition. Dynamic shell formation does not require the costly cryogenic layering that conventional methods of generating inertial fusion energy employ, because it uses liquid targets. These targets will also be easier to make.

Goncharov first described dynamic shell formation in a paper in 2020, but the concept hadn't been demonstrated experimentally. In a scaled-down, proof-of-principle experiment, Igumenshchev, Goncharov, and their colleagues used LLE's OMEGA laser to shape a sphere of plastic foam that had the same density as deuterium-tritium liquid fuel into a shell, demonstrating a critical step in the dynamic shell concept.

To actually generate fusion using the dynamic shell formation technique, future research will require lasers with longer and more energetic pulses, but the current experiment suggests that dynamic shell formation could be feasible as a path toward more practical fusion energy reactors.

"Combining this target concept with a highly efficient laser system that is currently under development at LLE will provide a very attractive path to fusion energy," Igumenshchev says.

Posted by at July 16, 2023 12:00 AM