The concept of fast ignition of inertial fusion targets is to separate fuel compression from fuel ignition and to ignite precompressed fuel by a separate external beam acting as an injected trigger. Hot spot ignition then occurs from a position at the periphery of the compressed, approximately isochoric fuel configuration. The injected trigger has to ignite the fuel within a time interval shorter than the hydrodynamic disintegration time of typically 10 to 100 ps. Laser fast ignition is the leading option for the ignitor beam, making use of picosecond petawatt laser pulses. These pulses produce laser hole boring and highly directed, relativistic electron beams, which may transport the ignition energy through the overdense plasma corona. Problems like beam filamentation and solutions like cone-guided injection as well as corresponding experiments are discussed.
Keywords: injected trigger, hot spot ignition, isochoric ignition, laser fast ignition, relativistic electron beam, laser hole boring, beam filamentation, fast ignition experiments, cone-guided injection
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