An international joint research group led by Osaka University demonstrated that it was possible to efficiently heat plasma by focusing a relativistic electron beam (REB) accelerated by a high-intensity, short-pulse laser with the application of a magnetic field of 600 tesla (T), about 600 times greater than the magnetic energy of a neodymium magnet (the strongest permanent magnet). Their research results were published in Nature Communications.
If matter can be heated to temperatures of tens of millions of degrees using REB accelerated to nearly the speed of light by irradiating plasma with high-intensity lasers, it will become possible to ignite controlled nuclear fusion reactions.
In the central ignition scheme, a prevailing scheme for inertial confinement fusion (ICF), has the problem of ignition quench, which is caused by the hot spark mixing with the surrounding cold fuel. On the other hand, in the fast ignition scheme (fast isochoric heating), a portion of low temperature fuel is heated, and then the heated region becomes the hot spark to trigger ignition before said mixing occurs. Thus, the fast ignition scheme has drawn attention as an alternative scheme.
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