CVD diamond accelerates nuclear fusion reaction

February 23, 2021

Abstract Recently, researchers at Osaka University have demonstrated that laser embossing on the capsules of nuclear fusion fuel made of hard and heavy materials has been alleviated. Using the latest chemical vapor deposition (CVD) methods, they also produce high-precision diamond fuel capsules, which is...

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Recently, researchers at Osaka University have demonstrated that laser embossing on the capsules of nuclear fusion fuel made of hard and heavy materials has been alleviated. Using the latest chemical vapor deposition (CVD) methods, they also produce high-precision diamond fuel capsules, a key technology for fusion fuels.

When the nuclear fusion reaction is initiated by compressing the fuel target in the form of a capsule, the disturbance of the laser imprint caused by the irradiation unevenness grows on the surface of the capsule. In inertial confinement fusion (ICF), the fuel capsule is directly irradiated with a laser beam, and the laser embossing and the surface roughness of the capsule prevent the compression and heating of the fuel from becoming a major problem.

In this study, the researchers first tried to mitigate the disturbance of laser imprinting. Taking into account the fact that diamonds have high hardness and good elasticity at an ultra-high pressure of 100 GPa, they conducted basic experiments and simulations on the effects of material stiffness and density on suppressing embossing disturbances. The results of the study show that the laser embossing on the surface of the diamond capsule is reduced to about 30% of the conventional capsule material polystyrene. These findings are published in Plasma Physics.

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In addition, researchers at the Institute of Laser Engineering at Osaka University and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) produced highly uniform diamonds with surface smoothness (<0.1 μm) and a sphericity of 99.7%. It is produced by decomposing a gas mixture composed of hydrogen and methane by using hot filament chemical vapor deposition (HFCVD) technology. The method does not require polishing treatment, can avoid damage caused by the polishing process, and prevents residual stress caused by processing damage from causing problems on the processing surface, thereby realizing mass production of the nuclear fusion capsule.

Author Keisuke Shigemori said: "The use of hard and non-laser-printed diamond as a fuel capsule material enables stable compression and efficient heating of laser fusion fuels, accelerating nuclear fusion reactions."

Diamond is one of the special materials in nature, with the highest hardness, low friction coefficient, high elastic modulus, high thermal conductivity, high insulation, wide energy gap, high acoustic propagation rate and good chemical stability, as shown in the following table. Although natural diamonds have these unique properties, they have always existed only in the form of gemstones, and their versatility and rarity greatly limit their applications. The CVD diamond film prepared by Luoyang Yuxin Diamond combines these excellent physical and chemical properties, and the cost is lower than that of natural diamond. It can prepare various geometric shapes and has broad application prospects in the fields of electronics, optics and machinery.

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