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First-principles opacity table of warm dense deuterium for inertial-confinement-fusion applications.

ABSTRACT

Accurate knowledge of the optical properties of a warm dense deuterium-tritium (DT) mixture is important for reliable design of inertial confinement fusion (ICF) implosions using radiation-hydrodynamics simulations. The opacity of a warm dense DT shell essentially determines how much radiation from hot coronal plasmas can be deposited in the DT fuel of an imploding capsule. Even for the simplest species of hydrogen, the accurate calculation of their opacities remains a challenge in the warm-dense matter regime because strong-coupling and quantum effects play an important role in such plasmas. With quantum-molecular-dynamics (QMD) simulations, we have derived a first-principles opacity table (FPOT) of deuterium (and the DT mixture by mass scaling) for a wide range of densities from ρ(D)=0.5 to 673.518g/cm(3) and temperatures from T=5000K up to the Fermi temperature T(F) for each density. Compared with results from the astrophysics opacity table (AOT) currently used in our hydrocodes, the FPOT of deuterium from our QMD calculations has shown a significant increase in opacity for strongly coupled and degenerate plasma conditions by a factor of 3-100 in the ICF-relevant photon-energy range. As conditions approach those of classical plasma, the opacity from the FPOT converges to the corresponding values of the AOT. By implementing the FPOT of deuterium and the DT mixture into our hydrocodes, we have performed radiation-hydrodynamics simulations for low-adiabat cryogenic DT implosions on the OMEGA laser and for direct-drive-ignition designs for the National Ignition Facility. The simulation results using the FPOT show that the target performance (in terms of neutron yield and energy gain) could vary from ∼10% up to a factor of ∼2 depending on the adiabat of the imploding DT capsule; the lower the adiabat, the more variation is seen in the prediction of target performance when compared to the AOT modeling.