LLNL Researchers Observe That Ions Behave Differently in Fusion Reactions

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December 12, 2022 | Originally published by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on November 14, 2022

Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have discovered that ions behave differently in fusion reactions than previously expected, thus providing important insights for the future design of a laser-fusion energy source.

The findings are featured in a new paper in the November 14 issue of Nature Physics, titled “Evidence for Suprathermal Ion Distribution in Burning Plasmas.”

The work shows that neutron energy measurements on the high-yield burning and igniting inertial confinement fusion experiments (ICF) showed that the average neutron energy produced is higher than expected for a deuterium-tritium (D-T) plasma that is in thermal equilibrium.

“This implies that the ions undergoing fusion have more energy than expected in the highest-performing shots, something that isn’t predicted — or able to be predicted — by the normal radiation hydrodynamics codes used to simulate ICF implosions,” said Alastair Moore, LLNL physicist and lead author of the paper.

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