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Materials Selection for Heavy Ion Fusion Hohlraums

R. W. Petzoldt, R. Gallix, D. T. Goodin, E. I. Valmianski, ARIES Team, W. S. Rickman

Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 49 / Number 1 / Pages 56-61

January 2006


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The hohlraum surrounds the fuel capsule in a heavy ion fusion (HIF) target. The hohlraum absorbs ion beam driver energy and emits this energy uniformly around the capsule in the form of X-rays. High-atomic-number materials are necessary in the walls of the hohlraum to contain the X-ray energy around the capsule during the implosion process. These high-atomic-number hohlraum materials affect many aspects of an HIF power plant operation. A systematic review of available information for all high-atomic-number elements was conducted to select candidate hohlraum materials. The effects of materials on target fabrication, energy cost, target gain, radioactivity, chemical toxicity, and potential for recycle were considered. Lead and tungsten are the lowest-cost acceptable materials in the primary coolant. The combination of lead and tungsten provide better target gain than either material alone. Seeding the primary coolant with submicron-sized tungsten particles can minimize tungsten growth in small openings in power plant components such as vacuum tritium disengagers. Concerns remain for possible tungsten particle agglomeration, settling, or erosion caused by tungsten particles. Tungsten could be replaced by several lanthanide elements if tungsten proves unacceptable.

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