Ignition has been a long sought-after goal needed to make fusion energy a viable alternative energy source, but ignition has yet to be achieved. For an inertially confined fusion (ICF) plasma to ignite, the plasma must be very well confined and very hot, to generate extremely high pressures needed for self-heating – achieving this state is not easy!
In this talk, we will discuss the technology, science, and progress towards ignition on the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in Northern California. We will cover the some of the setbacks encountered during the progress of the research at NIF, but also cover the great advances that have been made.
In particular, we will cover the recent work using the new “high-foot” pulse-shape implosion that presently holds the record for fusion performance. High-foot implosions are the first facility based fusion experiments to generate more energy from fusion than was invested in the fusion fuel. Yield amplifications from alpha-particle self-heating of 2.25x have also been demonstrated.
Dr. Omar Hurricane is a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and lead scientist for the High-foot Implosion Campaign on the NIF. His research focuses on weapons physics, high energy density physics science, and plasma instability. Dr. Hurricane has authored 60 journal publications and 60 conference papers, largely in the area of plasma physics and HEDP. He has received several awards and honors, including the U.S. Department of Energy Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award for National Security and Nonproliferation (2009), five U.S. Department of Energy Defense Programs Recognition of Excellence Awards (2002, 2004, 2009 x 2, 2010), and three LLNL Directors Science & Technology awards (2010, 2011, and 2013). Dr. Hurricane received his B.S. in Physics and Applied Mathematics from Metropolitan State University of Denver, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).