Laser-driven fusion is one of the most technologically challenging and potentially most useful applications of high powered lasers. The major physics problems that must be overcome to demonstrate the scientific feasibility of laser fusion are: (a) coupling of the laser energy to a target without generating energetic electrons that can cause fuel preheat and fast ion losses; (b) conversion of a significant part of the absorbed laser energy to hydrodynamic motion, via ablation, while at the same time maintaining a high degree of drive uniformity; (c) compression of deuterium-tritium (DT) fuel to densities in excess of 1000X liquid DT densities under conditions where the disruptive effects of hydrodynamic instabilities must be minimized; (d) achievement of thermonuclear Ignition conditions in small DT fuel cores.

© 1982 Optical Society of America

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