High-Energy Density Experiments


      In "high energy density" (HED) experiments such as NOVA and the National Ignition Facility, powerful laser beams enter holes and strike the inside wall of a hohlraum, which is a small cylinder containing a pea-size fusion fuel capsule. Laser energy heats the inside of the hohlraum creating x-rays that surround the capsule, or target. The x-rays rapidly heat the capsule inside the hohlraum (fig. 1) causing the capsule's surface to fly outward (fig. 2). This outward force causes an opposing inward force that compresses the fusion fuel (hydrogen isotopes) inside the capsule. When the compression reaches the center, temperatures increase to 100 million degrees Centigrade, igniting the fusion fuel (fig. 3) and producing a laser fusion thermonuclear burn that generates an energy output much larger than the laser energy input, thus providing a large energy gain (fig. 4).
    Please see Plasmas.org for more information.


Project Details:

National Ignitions Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Argonne Wakefield Accerelator
General Atomics Fusion Group
Accelerator and Fusion Research
Sandia National Laboratories

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