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Rev Sci Instrum. 2012 Oct;83(10):10D308. doi: 10.1063/1.4728095.

Neutron spectrometry--an essential tool for diagnosing implosions at the National Ignition Facility (invited).

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  • 1Massachusetts Institute of Technology Plasma Science and Fusion Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


DT neutron yield (Y(n)), ion temperature (T(i)), and down-scatter ratio (dsr) determined from measured neutron spectra are essential metrics for diagnosing the performance of inertial confinement fusion (ICF) implosions at the National Ignition Facility (NIF). A suite of neutron-time-of-flight (nTOF) spectrometers and a magnetic recoil spectrometer (MRS) have been implemented in different locations around the NIF target chamber, providing good implosion coverage and the complementarity required for reliable measurements of Y(n), T(i), and dsr. From the measured dsr value, an areal density (ρR) is determined through the relationship ρR(tot) (g∕cm(2)) = (20.4 ± 0.6) × dsr(10-12 MeV). The proportionality constant is determined considering implosion geometry, neutron attenuation, and energy range used for the dsr measurement. To ensure high accuracy in the measurements, a series of commissioning experiments using exploding pushers have been used for in situ calibration of the as-built spectrometers, which are now performing to the required accuracy. Recent data obtained with the MRS and nTOFs indicate that the implosion performance of cryogenically layered DT implosions, characterized by the experimental ignition threshold factor (ITFx), which is a function of dsr (or fuel ρR) and Y(n), has improved almost two orders of magnitude since the first shot in September, 2010.

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