A central feature of an Inertial Fusion Energy (IFE) power plant is a target that has been compressed and heated to fusion conditions by the energy input of the driver. The technology to economically manufacture and then position cryogenic targets at chamber center is at the heart of future IFE power plants. For direct drive IFE (laser fusion), energy is applied directly to the surface of a spherical CH polymer capsule containing the deuterium-tritium (DT) fusion fuel at approximately 18K. For indirect drive (heavy ion fusion, HIF), the target consists of a similar fuel capsule within a cylindrical metal container or ''hohlraum'' which converts the incident driver energy into x-rays to implode the capsule. For either target, it must be accurately delivered to the target chamber center at a rate of about 5-10Hz, with a precisely predicted target location. Future successful fabrication and injection systems must operate at the low cost required for energy production (about $0.25/target, about 104 less than current costs).

Z-pinch driven IFE (ZFE) utilizes high current pulses to compress plasma to produce x-rays that indirectly heat a fusion capsule. ZFE target technologies utilize a repetition rate of about 0.1 Hz with a higher yield.

This paper provides an overview of the proposed target methodologies for laser fusion, HIF, and ZFE, and summarizes advances in the unique materials science and technology development programs.