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Mitigating laser imprint in direct-drive inertial confinement fusion implosions with high-Z dopants.

ABSTRACT

Nonuniformities seeded by both long- and short-wavelength laser perturbations can grow via Rayleigh-Taylor (RT) instability in direct-drive inertial confinement fusion, leading to performance reduction in low-adiabat implosions. To mitigate the effect of laser imprinting on target performance, spherical RT experiments have been performed on OMEGA using Si- or Ge-doped plastic targets in a cone-in-shell configuration. Compared to a pure plastic target, radiation preheating from these high-Z dopants (Si/Ge) increases the ablation velocity and the standoff distance between the ablation front and laser-deposition region, thereby reducing both the imprinting efficiency and the RT growth rate. Experiments showed a factor of 2-3 reduction in the laser-imprinting efficiency and a reduced RT growth rate, leading to significant (3-5 times) reduction in the σ(rms) of shell ρR modulation for Si- or Ge-doped targets. These features are reproduced by radiation-hydrodynamics simulations using the two-dimensional hydrocode DRACO.