the study of the physics of stars, galaxies, and the interstellar medium.
the smallest constituent of an element having all the chemical characteristics of that element. It consists of a nucleus made of protons and neutrons surrounded by a system of electrons.
energy from fusion reactions in inertial confinement initiating further reactions in adjacent regions of fuel and potentially travelling through the fuel until it has been burnt.
a spherical shell (usually with multiple layers) of deuterium tritium fuel which is imploded in inertial confinement fusion.
the process of reducing in size or pressing together with an associated increase in density.
the process of confining fusion plasmas so that the hot plasma does not expand or touch the walls of the containment vessel, stopping the fusion process.
fusion fuel composed of two isotopes of hydrogen; deuterium and tritium (DT).
a description of the properties of space surrounding a region of electric charge. If the charge is moving there is an associated magnetic field.
a negatively charged sub-atomic particle which is a constituent of all matter.
the energy produced when two light nuclei fuse together to form a heavier nucleus.
High energy-density physics
the study of matter which has an energy density of 1011 joules per cubic meter (J/m3). This includes the study of the interaction of this matter with itself, with radiation and with particle beams.
In laser fusion, lasers rapidly heat the outer layers of a small spherical fusion fuel "target" (typically deuterium and tritium) to compress it. This converts the pellet surface into plasma, which blows off explosively from the surface while the remaining portion of the target is driven inward, compressing it into a small point of extremely high density. The rapid blow-off creates a shock wave travelling inwards from all sides to the centre of the compressed fuel. At the very centre the fuel is further heated and powerfully compressed. When its temperature and density are sufficiently high, fusion reactions begin, releasing high-energy particles, of which some (primarily alpha particles or helium nuclei), collide with surrounding fuel and heat it still further. If this process deposits enough energy in the unburned fuel, further fusion will occur in a rapidly spreading reaction. In the right density and temperature conditions a burn wave will travel outward from the centre of the compressed fuel. Fusion of the fuel releases large amounts of energy in the form of highly energetic neutrons.
a violent collapse or compressing of matter inwards.
Inertial confinement fusion
a method of producing fusion energy by compressing a fuel capsule to high density.
Inertial fusion reactor
a reactor powered by reactions generated through inertial confinement fusion.
an atom of an element with some electrons removed, making it positively charged.
the act of illuminating material with radiation.
an atom with more neutrons in the nucleus than its stable counterpart. For example: Hydrogen has one electron and a nucleus containing one proton, Deuterium (an isotope of hydrogen) has one electron plus a nucleus containing one proton and one neutron.
Kilojoules (a Joule is a unit of energy and a kilo joule is 1000 joules)
Long pulse laser
see short pulse laser
Magnetic confinement fusion
method of confining a fusion plasma using electric and magnetic fields to keep the plasma away from the reactor vessel walls.
field arising due to moving electrical charges.
an uncharged sub-atomic particle with a mass slightly greater than a proton. Neutrons appear in all nuclei except hydrogen.
the study of the atomic nucleus and its interactions with other nuclei.
the central part of an atom, consisting of a number of protons and neutrons.
the act of accelerating elementary particles to high energies to study their interactions.
an ionised gas consisting of electrons and ions, which behaves under the influence of electric and magnetic fields.
the study of the interaction of plasma with other plasma, with particle beams and with radiation.
a positively charged sub-atomic particle which exists in the nucleus of every element.
a disturbance propagating through a medium (or through a field) accompanied by a sudden change in the characteristics of the medium.
Short pulse laser
relative term for the comparison between the compression lasers and heating lasers in fast ignition. Long pulse lasers are usually nanoseconds in length (10-9 Seconds) and short pulse lasers are picoseconds or less (10-12 seconds).