Magnetic Direct Drive Fusion Experiments on the Z Facility
The Z facility at Sandia National Laboratories consists of the world's largest pulsed power driver and a multi-kJ, terawatt laser. The Z Facility is used to investigate material properties under extreme conditions, high power x-ray sources, and inertial confinement fusion (ICF). The Z Facility is uniquely suited to investigate the efficacy of magnetic direct drive ICF in which a large current flows axially through a cylindrical can containing fusion fuel. The current generates an azimuthal magnetic field, which combined with the axial current, produces a radially inward Lorentz force that implodes the cylinder containing the fuel. Typical time-scales for pulsed power drivers are 100-1000 ns. These slow implosions allow for more massive, robust target designs, but require help to achieve fusion-relevant conditions.
In Magnetized Liner Inertial Fusion (MagLIF), a laser pre-heats the fuel prior to the implosion, which allows the fuel to reach several keV temperatures. Since the implosion time is relatively long (>50 ns), an axial magnetic field is included to inhibit thermal conduction in the radial direction. This field also helps trap charged-particle fusion products, which is necessary for self-heating in high yield ICF designs.
Dr. Matthew Gomez received the B.S.E., M.S.E., and Ph.D. degrees from the Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences Department at the University of Michigan in 2005, 2007, and 2011, respectively. As a graduate student he conducted research in the Plasma, Pulsed Power, and Microwave Laboratory with Professor Ronald Gilgenbach as his advisor. Following graduate school, Matthew became a staff member in the Pulsed Power Sciences Center at Sandia National Laboratories, where he studies magneto-inertial fusion, x-ray radiation sources, and high current transmission lines.