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Computational and experimental study of beam-plasma instabilities relevant to fast-ignition inertial confinement fusion

King, M. and Speirs, D. C. and Bingham, R. and McConville, S. L. and Bryson, R. and Gillespie, K. M. and Phelps, A. D R and Cross, A. W. and Whyte, C. G. and Cairns, R. A. and Vorgul, I. and Trines, R. M. G. M. and Ronald, K. (2013) Computational and experimental study of beam-plasma instabilities relevant to fast-ignition inertial confinement fusion. In: 40th EPS Conference on Plasma Physics, EPS 2013. Europhysics Conference Abstract, 1 . European Physical Society (EPS), Mulhouse, pp. 533-536. ISBN 9782914771849

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Beam-plasma instabilities can produce highly non-linear effects that can influence the particle dynamics of a system. Within fast-ignition inertial confinement fusion, the two-stream instability may be of particular importance. In this form of fusion, a deuterium-tritium fuel pellet is compressed using uniform laser irradiation. A secondary laser pulse is then utilised to accelerate a highly relativistic electron beam into the core of the pellet to provide the heating necessary to initiate fusion. Results from fast-ignition fusion experiments have indicated that more of the beam energy is being transferred to the ion population than would be expected from purely electron-ion collisions. It has been proposed that this anomalous heating mechanism can be explained by the two-stream instability. As the beam propagates through the compressed pellet, the two-stream instability occurs and can excite Langmuir turbulence that can resonantly decay into ion-acoustic waves. These waves are then damped by ion-ion collisions resulting in a collective heating of the ion population. To investigate this behaviour, a scaled low temperature, low density laboratory experiment is currently underway. Two dimensional particle-in-cell (PiC) simulations have been undertaken of this scaled experiment, the results of which will be benchmarked against those of the experiment. Preliminary results from the laboratory experiment will be presented along with the results from PiC simulations.