Fast Ignition is recognized as the most promising approach to achieving the high energy gain target performance needed for commercial inertial confinement fusion (ICF). However, there are great difficulties related to the traditional approach of generating a relativistic electron beam and then focusing it on the hot “spark” region (hot spot) of the compressed target. One promising alternate approach that has been proposed by researchers at LLNL and LANL is the laser generation of a proton beam in an “interaction foil” to ignite the target. However, the total proton flux supplied from hydrogen adsorbed on the foil surface is too small to generate the desired proton flux threshold. In more recent studies it has been found that ions heavier than protons would provide better focusing on the hot spot if ways to efficiently generate them can be found. Here we propose to utilize a new “Deuterium Cluster ”type structure as the laser interaction foil to generate an energetic deuteron beam as the fast igniter. The ultra high density deuterium in the cluster structure promises much higher total flux for deuterons than for traditional protons. Also, deuterons will serve very important dual purposes — the deuteron deposition in the target hot spot will not only provide heating but also fuse with fuel as they slow down in the target. The resulting fusion alphas serve to provide added heating, reducing the input requirement. If the physics works as anticipated, this novel type of interaction foil can efficiently generate energetic deuterons during intense laser pulses. The massive yield of deuterons generated from our cluster material through laser acceleration, should turn out to be the most efficient way of FI of the DT fuel, and making the dream of near-term commercialization of FI fusion more achievable.

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