Dr Jeremy Chittenden, Imperial College
Understanding wire array Z-pinches and their applications in inertial confinement fusion research and laboratory astrophysics
J.P. Chittenden, A. Marocchino, N.P. Niasse and S.V. Lebedev
Imperial College, London, SW7 2BW, U.K.
Observatoire de Paris, (LUTH), 92195 Meudon, France
Sandia National Laboratory, Albuquerque, 87185-1193, USA.
Magneto-hydrodynamic simulations provide a powerful tool for improving our understanding of the complex physical processes underlying high energy density plasma physics experiments driven by pulsed power generators. In the case of cylindrical wire array Z-pinches, we show how by using a combination of different 3D simulations it is possible to encompass all of the important features of the wire ablation, implosion and stagnation phases observed in experiments. Comparison of code results with experimental data from ‘Z’, MAGPIE and other pulsed power generators is shown to provide a detailed benchmark test for the models. Predictions for the X-ray performance of present and future machines can then be made along with the sensitivity to load design, maximum current and rise-time. The design of novel array configurations also allows improvements to implosion symmetry and X-ray rise-time, and more compact radiation sources to be investigated. The generation of dense, 200km/s, plasma flows from pulsed power driven, conical and radial wire arrays provides a mechanism for laboratory astrophysics studies of jet formation and collimation in young stellar objects. 3D magneto-hydrodynamic models provide an important tool both for the design of experiments and for the interpretation of their behaviour as well as testing the applicability of these experiments to the astrophysical system. An extension to this work is to model the collision of blast waves generated by the interaction of a short pulse lasers with a cluster medium, which provides a representation of the propagation of a strong shock wave through a non-uniform interstellar medium.