Using Magnetic Fields to Create and Control High Energy Density Matter

Mark Herrmann
Sandia National Laboratories

The recently refurbished Z facility can efficiently create currents as large as 26 Million Amperes. These large currents create large magnetic fields that, in turn, create very large pressures in conducting materials. These very large pressures have been used to create unique conditions for high energy density science experiments. In particular, the pressure can be used to create high velocity flyer plates (up to 45 km/sec) that enable measurements of a material’s high pressure Hugoniot. The pulse shaping flexibility and the long rise time (~several hundred ns) of the current on the Z facility enables shockless compression experiments to be performed. Shockless compression probes a very different part of a material’s phase diagram, and for many applications provides data that is closer to the conditions of interest than the Hugoniot. Another application of the large magnetic fields generated by the Z facility is the implosion of cylindrical arrays of wires to high implosion velocities. These imploding arrays produce very interesting plasma conditions at stagnation, as well as large x-ray bursts that can be used for many high energy density physics applications. Recently, we have been exploring the use of very strong magnetic fields to significantly relax the requirements for achieving inertial confinement fusion self heating. The magnetized liner inertial fusion (MagLIF) concept relies on a cylindrically imploding liner, an axial magnetic field, and a laser heated fuel region. We hope to achieve significant fusion yield on the Z facility with this concept. Initial experiments assessing the growth of the Magneto-Rayleigh Taylor instability are promising and recent calculational work has identified an approach to achieving high gain with this concept.

*Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000.

1In collaboration with D. Ampleford, B.W. Atherton, J.E. Bailey, V. Bigman, M.E. Cuneo, J.P. Davis,M.P. Desjarlais, A.D. Edens, D.G. Flicker, S.B. Hansen, D.L. Hanson, G.S. Heffelfinger, C.A. Jennings, B.M. Jones, M. Jones, K. Killebrew, M.D. Knudson, G.T. Leifeste, R.W. Lemke, A.J. Lopez, M.R. Lopez, R.J. Magyar, J.H. Carpenter, T.R. Mattsson, M.R. Martin, R.D. McBride, R.G. McKee, C. Nakhleh, K.J. Peterson, J.L. Porter, G.A. Rochau, S. Root, D.C. Rovang, M.E. Savage, A. B. Sefkow, D.B. Sinars, S.A. Slutz, J. Shores, I.C. Smith, W.A. Stygar, M.A. Sweeney, R.A. Vesey, and M.K. Matzen

Presentation (PDF File)

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