Numerical studies of a layered lithium-boron target for laser-driven aneutronic fusion reactions

  • J. Gruenwald Gruenwald Laboratories
  • L. Morejon


This paper explores a novel target design for laser-driven, aneutronic, proton-boron and proton-lithium fusion reactions consisting of a stack of boron and lithium foils. In contrast to a homogeneous target, this multi-layer setup provides additional fusion channels in the different materials. The composition of the layers is chosen in descending order of the fusion reactions' thresholds, facilitating the fusion of protons that penetrate further into the material despite their energy losses due to electronic and nuclear stopping power. We employ a combination of Fluka simulations and additional numerical computations to evaluate thousands of target configurations. Four different beam energy distributions are considered: two Gaussian distributions with 6~MeV and 10~MeV mean energies, respectively, a Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution and a power law distribution. We explore the production of energy in a range of layer thicknesses motivated by the proton ranges based on ionization losses. The configuration which maximizes the produced energy for each beam type is reported. The production of fusion energy ranges from hundreds to thousands of millijoules for proton bunches of $10^{15}$ having mean energies between 2-10 MeV.