Species Separation and Hydrogen Streaming upon Shock Release from Polystyrene under Inertial Confinement Fusion Conditions

S Zhang and SX Hu, PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS, 125, 105001 (2020).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.125.105001

Shock release from inertial confinement fusion (ICF) shells poses a great challenge to single-fluid hydrodynamic equations, especially for describing materials composed of different ion species. This has been evidenced by a recent experiment Haberberger et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 123, 235001 (2019), in which low-density plasmas (10(19) to 10(20) cm(-3)) are measured to move far ahead of what radiation-hydrodynamic simulations predict. To understand such experimental observations, we have performed large-scale nonequilibrium molecular-dynamics simulations of shock release in polystyrene (CH) at experimental conditions. These simulations revealed that upon shock releasing from the back surface of a CH foil, hydrogen can stream out of the bulk of the foil due to its mass being lighter than carbon. This released hydrogen, exhibiting a much broader velocity distribution than carbon, forms low-density plasmas moving in nearly constant velocities ahead of the in-flight shell, which is in quantitative agreement with the experimental measurements. Such kinetic effect of species separation is currently missing in single fluid radiation-hydrodynamics codes for ICF simulations.

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