Inertial confinement fusion
VanDevender, J. Pace Formerly, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Last reviewed:August 2020
- Brief history of inertial confinement fusion
- ICF implosions
- ICF drivers
- National Ignition Facility (NIF)
- Z facility
- Use of KrF laser drivers
- Use of heavy-ion drivers
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A power-generation technology that employs various means, including high-intensity lasers, magnetic direct drive, and heavy-ion beams, to heat and compress fuel capsules sufficiently to drive controlled nuclear fusion reactions among contained deuterium and tritium nuclei. The basic idea of inertial confinement fusion (ICF) is to assemble a 1 to 10 mg capsule of highly compressed, minimally heated, fusion main fuel (a mixture of deuterium and tritium) around a very hot igniter plasma so that the energy released in the central igniter drives a burn wave into the surrounding main fuel to ignite it before it can expand significantly. The confinement is, therefore, accomplished by the inertia of the fuel and any surrounding tamper mass. ICF is distinct from other approaches to nuclear-fusion energy production, such as magnetic confinement and muon-catalyzed fusion. See also: Deuterium; Magnetic confinement fusion; Muon-catalyzed fusion; Nuclear fusion; Plasma (physics); Tritium
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