First Stellar Nucleosynthesis Experiments Using ICF Plasmas

Alex Zylstra, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Photo of Alex Zylstra

For the first time, Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) plasmas have been used to study a stellar nucleosynthesis reaction, 3He+3He, which is the final step of the PP-1 chain that burns H into He in main sequence stars. ICF plasmas span a wide range of densities and temperatures and include plasmas relevant to stellar cores. This type of study opens new areas of research into stellar nucleosynthesis and low-energy nuclear physics at conditions unattainable in conventional accelerator experiments, in the new field of plasma nuclear science. In this experiment we measured charged-particle spectra from the 3He(3He,2p)4He and 3He(3He,p)5Li reactions in thin-glass implosions at the OMEGA laser facility. The data agree with previous results on the reaction channel branching ratio and will be used to address the effects of final-state interactions between the fusion products. This work was supported in part by the U.S. DOE, LLNL and LLE.

Abstract Author(s): A. Zylstra, J. Frenje, C. K. Li, D. Casey, F. S├ęguin, N. Sinenian, M. Gatu Johnson, M. Rosenberg, H. Rinderknecht, H. Sio, C. Waugh, R. Petrasso, MIT; R. Boyd, D. McNabb, J. Pino, S. Quaglioni, A. Smith, I. Thomson, LLNL; J. Delettrez, V. Yu Glebov, P. Radha, T.C. Sangster, LLE; A. Bacher, IU; J. Kilkenny, A. Nikroo, GA