Gas-filled, laser-driven inverted corona fusion targets have attracted interest as a low-convergence neutron source and platform for studying kinetic physics. At the fill pressures under investigation, ejected particles from the shell can penetrate deeply into the gas before colliding, leading to significant mixing across the gas-shell interface. Here we use kinetic-ion, fluid-electron hybrid particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations to explore the nature of that mix. Simulations of the system demonstrate characteristics of a weakly collisional electrostatic shock, whereby a strong electric field accelerates shell ions into the rarefied gas and reflects upstream gas ions back against themselves. This interpenetration is mediated by collisional processes: at higher initial gas pressure, fewer shell particles pass into the mix region and reach the hotspot. This effect is detectable through neutron yield scaling vs. gas pressure. Predictions of neutron yield scaling show excellent agreement with experimental data recorded at the OMEGA laser facility, suggesting that one-dimensional kinetic mechanisms are sufficient to capture the mix process.

Abstract Author(s)
William Riedel, Nathan Meezan, Drew Higginson, Matthias Hohenberger, Mark Cappelli, Siegfried Glenzer
Stanford University