> Research overview
Last modification on Wednesday 3 December 2008
PETAL is essentially a tool on the road of energy through inertial fusion. Basic concepts for fusion energy can be find on the ILP (in French) or the HIPER (in English) sites.
Fusion’s promise as an energy source comes from its inexhaustible fuel supply, and from its potential for almost negligible environmental impact compared to the corresponding costs of competing sources. The viability of Inertial Fusion Energy (IFE) as an economical power source will depend on our ability to address questions related to driver efficiency and high repetition rates, and to design targets and reactor chambers that minimize the driver energy, besides producing highly compressed cores at very high temperature.
In the fast ignition scheme, constraints on irradiation uniformity are relaxed and high gain energy production is predicted with accessible laser energy. One of the major applications of the PETAL facility is to study the fast-ignition. This is an advanced target concept where as very rapid burst of energy from a picosecond laser pulse or a rapid pulse of protons heats a small spot and ignites fusion fuel that has already been compressed using the conventional ICF method. The great attraction of fast-ignition comes from a significant reduction in the required driver energy, which in turn could substantially reduce IFE electricity cost.
A new high-energy multi-Petawatt capability at CEA/CESTA, coupled to the LIL 8-beam facility, will benefit high energy density research. It will allow to explore novel fusion concepts, develop technology and techniques in support of the LMJ, such as backlighting and diagnostic development, and provide an unique opportunity to conduct research in ultra high-intensity laser–matter interaction. The LIL-PW combination will provide an excellent basis for the subsequent development of IFE in Europe that could lead to a fast-ignition dedicated facility, such as the HiPER project.
A multi-PW laser coupled to the LIL could bring new opportunities in other areas of fundamental physics and IFE research, such as
- X-ray or g-ray radiography
- Proton-beam point-projection imaging and radiography
- High energy density matter
- Astrophysics in laboratory
- High intensity science