The HiPER Project requires further development of several already sophisticated technologies, including:
- High power repetition rate infra-red lasers of order ~1kJ ~10Hz capability. These lasers will incorporate frequency conversion to green and thence to ultra-violet, fully automated control systems and a very fast-acting front-end pointing system to permit engagement of targets injected at high velocity into the fusion chamber.
- Fusion targets designed to yield maximum energy, but also sufficiently robust to survive intact for the period of time when they are in flight within a high temperature reactor environment, prior to engagement by lasers. Target design and modelling uses supercomputers with highly specialised computer codes. Designs are built and then tested on high power laser facilities to verify their performance, while experimental results are fed back to improve design modelling codes.
- High-precision mass production techniques for fusion fuel targets. Techniques include microfluidics, nanotechnology, lifting and handling, dielectrophoretics, isothermal cryogenic systems, sub-surface DT layering technology, precision metrology and micro electrical mechanical systems (MEMS). Techniques must be integrated into a target production line capable of producing the ~1 million targets required per day for an operating Laser Energy plant.
- A reactor and breeder blanket design for fusion energy capture, to be capable of sustained operation at very high energy throughput. Advanced materials and developed systems are required for energy capture, tritium and helium extraction and tritium refinement as part of the fusion fuel cycle.
- An injector system to propel the target into the fusion chamber at sufficient velocity that it will be unaffected by the reactor environment before engagement by the lasers to trigger fusion.
- A very high speed precision system to track the target in flight within the fusion chamber prior to laser engagement. System feedback will be interpreted by a control system which times each laser to engage precisely with the target. A control system to provide real time signalling to over 1000 individual laser beamlets, using high speed target tracking data to ensure precise target engagement by each laser, giving an efficient fusion burn and hence suitably high energy output.
The development of these technologies will bring benefit and growth in such fields as:
- Medical Science,
- Nuclear engineering operations,
- Space technology
- Science Research