Interaction of liquid droplets with low-temperature, low-pressure plasma

The chamber walls in inertial fusion reactors must be protected from the photons and ions resulting from the target explosions. One way this can be accomplished is through a sacrificial liquid wall composed of either liquid jets or thin liquid films. The x-rays produced by the exploding targets deposit their energy in a thin liquid layer on the wall surface or in the surface of liquid jets arrayed to protect the wall. The partially vaporized liquid film/jet forms a protective cloud that expands toward the incoming ionic debris which arrives shortly (a few s) thereafter. The charged particles deposit their energy in the vapor shield and the unvaporized liquid, thereby leading to further evaporation. Re-condensation of the vapor cloud and radiative cooling of the expanding plasma allow the energy deposited in the liquid to be recovered prior to the next target explosion (100ms). Chamber clearing prior to the next explosion represents a major challenge for all liquid protection systems, inasmuch as any remaining liquid droplets may interfere with beam propagation and/or target injection. Therefore, the primary objective of this research is to experimentally examine the interaction between liquid droplets and low- temperature, low-pressure plasmas under conditions similar to those expected following inertial fusion target explosions and the subsequent expansion. The data obtained in this research will be useful in validating mechanistic chamber-clearing models to assure successful beam propagation and target injection for the subsequent explosion.
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