The historic December 5, 2022 experiment at Lawrence Livermore National Lab’s National Ignition Facility reached fusion energy ignition for the first time, thus paving the way to future clean inertial fusion energy (IFE). This project addresses one of the priority research opportunities in IFE – the development of alternate ablative target materials, which are urgently sought to achieve high gain by enhancing fuel compression in low-adiabat implosions. Amorphous carbon (a-C) is a novel ablator material for next-generation IFE capsules. The main objective is to gain insights into the high-energy-density physics of amorphous carbon targets under compression by IFE drivers. This ALCC project will perform machine learning molecular dynamics simulations at DOE exascale Frontier and Aurora supercomputers at experimental time and length scales to uncover complex response of a-C ablators under dynamic compression and guide experiments to observe predicted phenomena and validate our theoretical models.
This ALCC project will provide direct support to recently awarded project within DOE FES High Energy Density Laboratory Plasma (HEDLP) program (program manager – Kramer Akli) and LaserNetUS project, involving experiments at Omega EP laser facility at the Laboratory of Laser Energetics at the University of Rochester and European X-ray Free Electron Laser Facility. Our tightly integrated research, education, and collaborative activities, coupled with the use of the world’s most powerful DOE supercomputers and cutting-edge experimental facilities, will allow us to achieve top-tier results while educating the next generation of scientists and engineers to advance national IFE program and lead the world in IFE research.