Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Physics

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Blackett LaboratorySouth Kensington Campus





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Walsh CA, Chittenden JP, Hill DW, Ridgers Cet al., 2020, Extended-magnetohydrodynamics in under-dense plasmas, Physics of Plasmas, Vol: 27, Pages: 022103-022103, ISSN: 1070-664X

Extended-magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) transports magnetic flux and electron energy in high-energy-density experiments, but individual transport effects remain unobserved experimentally. Two factors are responsible in defining the transport: electron temperature and electron current. Each electron energy transport term has a direct analog in magnetic flux transport. To measure the thermally driven transport of magnetic flux and electron energy, a simple experimental configuration is explored computationally using a laser-heated pre-magnetized under-dense plasma. Changes to the laser heating profile precipitate clear diagnostic signatures from the Nernst, cross-gradient-Nernst, anisotropic conduction, and Righi-Leduc heat-flow. With a wide operating parameter range, this configuration can be used in both small and large scale facilities to benchmark MHD and kinetic transport in collisional/semi-collisional, local/non-local, and magnetized/unmagnetized regimes.

Journal article

Crilly AJ, Appelbe BD, Mannion OM, Forrest CJ, Gopalaswamy V, Walsh CA, Chittenden JPet al., 2020, Neutron backscatter edge: A measure of the hydrodynamic properties of the dense DT fuel at stagnation in ICF experiments, Physics of Plasmas, Vol: 27, Pages: 012701-1-012701-11, ISSN: 1070-664X

The kinematic lower bound for the single scattering of neutrons produced in deuterium-tritium (DT) fusion reactions produces a backscatter edge in the measured neutron spectrum. The energy spectrum of backscattered neutrons is dependent on the scattering ion velocity distribution. As the neutrons preferentially scatter in the densest regions of the capsule, the neutron backscatter edge presents a unique measurement of the hydrodynamic conditions in the dense DT fuel. It is shown that the spectral shape of the edge is determined by the scattering rate weighted fluid velocity and temperature of the dense DT fuel layer during neutron production. In order to fit the neutron spectrum, a model for the various backgrounds around the backscatter edge is developed and tested on synthetic data produced from hydrodynamic simulations of OMEGA implosions. It is determined that the analysis could be utilized on current inertial confinement fusion experiments in order to measure the dense fuel properties.

Journal article

Tong JK, McGlinchey K, Appelbe BD, Walsh CA, Crilly AJ, Chittenden JPet al., 2019, Burn regimes in the hydrodynamic scaling of perturbed inertial confinement fusion hotspots, Nuclear Fusion, Vol: 59, Pages: 1-16, ISSN: 0029-5515

We present simulations of ignition and burn based on the Highfoot and high-density carbon indirect drive designs of the National Ignition Facility for three regimes of alpha-heating—self-heating, robust ignition and propagating burn—exploring hotspot power balance, perturbations and hydrodynamic scaling. A Monte-Carlo particle-in-cell charged particle transport package for the radiation-magnetohydrodynamics code Chimera was developed for this purpose, using a linked-list type data structure.The hotspot power balance between alpha-heating, electron thermal conduction and radiation was investigated in 1D for the three burn regimes. Stronger alpha-heating levels alter the hydrodynamics: sharper temperature and density gradients at hotspot edge; and increased hotspot pressures which further compress the shell, increase hotspot size and induce faster re-expansion. The impact of perturbations on this power balance is explored in 3D using a single Rayleigh–Taylor spike. Heat flow into the perturbation from thermal conduction and alpha-heating increases by factors of , due to sharper temperature gradients and increased proximity of the cold, dense material to the main fusion regions respectively. The radiative contribution remains largely unaffected in magnitude.Hydrodynamic scaling with capsule size and laser energy of different perturbation scenarios (a short-wavelength multi-mode and a long-wavelength radiation asymmetry) is explored in 3D, demonstrating the differing hydrodynamic evolution of the three alpha-heating regimes. The multi-mode yield increases faster with scale factor due to more synchronous compression producing higher temperatures and densities, and therefore stronger bootstrapping of alpha-heating. The perturbed implosions exhibit differences in hydrodynamic evolution due to alpha-heating in addition to the 1D effects, including: reduced perturbation growth due to ablation from both fire-polishing and stronger thermal conduction; and fa

Journal article

Walsh CA, McGlinchey K, Tong JK, Appelbe BD, Crilly A, Zhang MF, Chittenden JPet al., 2019, Perturbation modifications by pre-magnetisation of inertial confinement fusion implosions, Physics of Plasmas, Vol: 26, ISSN: 1070-664X

Pre-magnetisation of inertial confinement fusion implosions on the National Ignition Facility has the potential to raise current high-performing targets into the ignition regime [Perkins et al. "The potential of imposed magnetic fields for enhancing ignition probability and fusion energy yield in indirect-drive inertial confinement fusion," Phys. Plasmas 24, 062708 (2017)]. A key concern with this method is that the application of a magnetic field inherently increases asymmetry. This paper uses 3-D extended-magnetohydrodynamics Gorgon simulations to investigate how thermal conduction suppression, the Lorentz force, and α-particle magnetisation affect three hot-spot perturbation scenarios: a cold fuel spike, a time-dependent radiation drive asymmetry, and a multi-mode perturbation. For moderate magnetisations (B0 = 5 T), the single spike penetrates deeper into the hot-spot, as thermal ablative stabilisation is reduced. However, at higher magnetisations (B0 = 50 T), magnetic tension acts to stabilise the spike. While magnetisation of α-particle orbits increases the peak hot-spot temperature, no impact on the perturbation penetration depth is observed. The P4-dominated radiation drive asymmetry demonstrates the anisotropic nature of the thermal ablative stabilisation modifications, with perturbations perpendicular to the magnetic field penetrating deeper and perturbations parallel to the field being preferentially stabilised by increased heat-flows. Moderate magnetisations also increase the prevalence of high modes, while magnetic tension reduces vorticity at the hot-spot edge for larger magnetisations. For a simulated high-foot experiment, the yield doubles through the application of a 50 T magnetic field-an amplification which is expected to be larger for higher-performing configurations.

Journal article

Johnson MG, Appelbe BD, Chittenden JP, Crilly A, Delettrez J, Forrest C, Frenje JA, Glebov VY, Grimble W, Haines BM, Igumenshchev IV, Janezic R, Knauer JP, Lahmann B, Marshall FJ, Michel T, Seguin FH, Stoeckl C, Walsh C, Zylstra AB, Petrasso RDet al., 2019, Impact of imposed mode 2 laser drive asymmetry on inertial confinement fusion implosions, Physics of Plasmas, Vol: 26, ISSN: 1070-664X

Low-mode asymmetries have emerged as one of the primary challenges to achieving high-performing inertial confinement fusion implosions. These asymmetries seed flows in the implosions, which will manifest as modifications to the measured ion temperature (Tion) as inferred from the broadening of primary neutron spectra. The effects are important to understand (i) to learn to control and mitigate low-mode asymmetries and (ii) to experimentally more closely capture thermal Tion used as input in implosion performance metric calculations. In this paper, results from and simulations of a set of experiments with a seeded mode 2 in the laser drive are described. The goal of this intentionally asymmetrically driven experiment was to test our capability to predict and measure the signatures of flows seeded by the low-mode asymmetry. The results from these experiments [first discussed in M. Gatu Johnson et al., Phys. Rev. E 98, 051201(R) (2018)] demonstrate the importance of interplay of flows seeded by various asymmetry seeds. In particular, measured Tion and self-emission x-ray asymmetries are expected to be well captured by interplay between flows seeded by the imposed mode 2 and the capsule stalk mount. Measurements of areal density asymmetry also indicate the importance of the stalk mount as an asymmetry seed in these implosions. The simulations brought to bear on the problem (1D LILAC, 2D xRAGE, 3D ASTER, and 3D Chimera) show how thermal Tion is expected to be significantly lower than Tion as inferred from the broadening of measured neutron spectra. They also show that the electron temperature is not expected to be the same as Tion for these implosions.

Journal article

McGlinchey K, Appelbe BD, Crilly AJ, Tong JK, Walsh CA, Chittenden JPet al., 2018, Diagnostic signatures of performance degrading perturbations in inertial confinement fusion implosions, Physics of Plasmas, Vol: 25, ISSN: 1070-664X

We present 3D radiation-hydrodynamics simulations of indirect-drive inertial confinement fusion experiments performed at the National Ignition Facility (NIF). The simulations are carried out on two shots from different NIF experimental campaigns: N130927 from the high foot series and N161023 from the ongoing high density carbon series. Applying representative perturbation sources from each implosion, synthetic nuclear diagnostics are used to post-process the simulations to infer the stagnation parameters. The underlying physical mechanisms that produce the observed signatures are then explored. We find that the radiation asymmetry and tent scar perturbations extend the nuclear burn width; this is due to an asymmetric stagnation of the shell that causes the delivery of mechanical PdV work to be extended compared to an idealised implosion. Radiation asymmetries seed directed flow patterns that can result in a difference in the inferred ion temperature ranging from 80 eV to 230 eV depending on the magnitude and orientation of the asymmetry considered in the simulation; the tent scar shows no such temperature difference. For N130927, radiation asymmetries dominate the yield and inferred ion temperature and the tent scar has the largest influence on the neutron burnwidth. For N161023, the fill tube decreases the burn width by injecting mix into the hot spot, leading to a smaller hot spot and increased energy losses. Both the radiation asymmetry and the fill tube generate directed flows that lead to an anisotropic inferred temperature distribution. Through existing and novel synthetic neutron imaging techniques, we can observe the hot spot and shell shape to a degree that accurately captures the perturbations present.

Journal article

Gatu Johnson M, Appelbe BD, Chittenden JP, Delettrez J, Forrest C, Frenje JA, Glebov VY, Grimble W, Haines BM, Igumenshchev I, Janezic R, Knauer JP, Lahmann B, Marshall FJ, Michel T, S├ęguin FH, Stoeckl C, Walsh C, Zylstra AB, Petrasso RDet al., 2018, Impact of asymmetries on fuel performance in inertial confinement fusion, Physical Review E, Vol: 98, ISSN: 2470-0045

Low-mode asymmetries prevent effective compression, confinement, and heating of the fuel in inertial confinement fusion (ICF) implosions, and their control is essential to achieving ignition. Ion temperatures (Tion) in ICF experiments are inferred from the broadening of primary neutron spectra. Directional motion (flow) of the fuel at burn also impacts broadening and will lead to artificially inflated "Tion" values. Flow due to low-mode asymmetries is expected to give rise to line-of-sight variations in measured Tion. We report on intentionally asymmetrically driven experiments at the OMEGA laser facility designed to test the ability to accurately predict and measure line-of-sight differences in apparent Tion due to low-mode asymmetry-seeded flows. Contrasted to chimera and xrage simulations, the measurements demonstrate how all asymmetry seeds have to be considered to fully capture the flow field in an implosion. In particular, flow induced by the stalk that holds the target is found to interfere with the seeded asymmetry. A substantial stalk-seeded asymmetry in the areal density of the implosion is also observed.

Journal article

Walsh C, Chittenden JP, McGlinchey K, Niasse NPL, Appelbe BDet al., 2017, Self-Generated magnetic fields in the stagnation phase of indirect-drive implosions on the national ignition facility, Physical Review Letters, Vol: 118, ISSN: 1079-7114

Three-dimensional extended-magnetohydrodynamic simulations of the stagnation phase of inertial confinement fusion implosion experiments at the National Ignition Facility are presented, showing self-generated magnetic fields over 10^4 T. Angular high mode-number perturbations develop large magnetic fields, but are localized to the cold, dense hot-spot surface, which is hard to magnetize. When low-mode perturbations are also present, the magnetic fields are injected into the hot core, reaching significant magnetizations, with peak local thermal conductivity reductions greater than 90%. However, Righi-Leduc heat transport effectively cools the hot spot and lowers the neutron spectra-inferred ion temperatures compared to the unmagnetized case. The Nernst effect qualitatively changes the results by demagnetizing the hot-spot core, while increasing magnetizations at the edge and near regions of large heat loss.

Journal article

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