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The ultrafast charge dynamics following the interaction of an ultra-intense laser pulse with a foil target leads to the launch of an ultra-short, intense electromagnetic (EM) pulse along a wire connected to the target. Due to the strong electric field (of the order of
) associated to such laser-driven EM pulses, these can be exploited in a travelling-wave helical geometry for controlling and optimizing the parameters of laser accelerated proton beams. The propagation of the EM pulse along a helical path was studied by employing a proton probing technique. The pulse-carrying coil was probed along two orthogonal directions, transverse and parallel to the coil axis. The temporal profile of the pulse obtained from the transverse probing of the coil is in agreement with the previous measurements obtained in a planar geometry. The data obtained from the longitudinal probing of the coil shows a clear evidence of an energy dependent reduction of the proton beam divergence, which underpins the mechanism behind selective guiding of laser-driven ions by the helical coil targets.
The Laboratory for Intense Lasers (L2I) is a research centre in optics and lasers dedicated to experimental research in high intensity laser science and technology and laser plasma interaction. Currently the laboratory is undergoing an upgrade with the goal of increasing the versatility of the laser systems available to the users, as well as increasing the pulse repetition rate. In this paper we review the current status of the laser research and development programme of this facility, namely the upgraded capability and the recent progress towards the installation of an ultrashort, diode-pumped OPCPA laser system.
This work presents a brief introduction on three kinds of newly developed
-doped laser glasses in Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics (SIOM), China. Two
-doped phosphate glasses with lower thermal expansion coefficient and thermal shock resistance 4 times higher than that of N31 glass are developed for laser processing. Nd:Silicate and Nd:Aluminate glasses with peak emission wavelength at 1061 and 1065 nm, effective emission bandwidth of 34 and 50 nm, respectively, are developed for Exawatt-class laser system application. Fluorophosphate glasses with low nonlinear refractive index (
) and long fluorescence lifetime (
) are investigated for the purpose of decreasing B integral in high-power laser system. The properties of all these glasses are presented and compared with those of commercial neodymium laser glasses.
Using the example of the PHELIX high-energy short pulse laser we discuss the technical preconditions to investigate ion acceleration with submicrometer thick targets. We show how the temporal contrast of this system was improved to prevent pre-ionization of such targets on the nanosecond timescale. Furthermore the influence of typical fluctuations or uncertainties of the on-target intensity on ion acceleration experiments is discussed. We report how these uncertainties were reduced by improving the assessment and control of the on-shot intensity and by optimizing the positioning of the target into the focal plane. Finally we report on experimental results showing maximum proton energies in excess of 85 MeV for ion acceleration via the target normal sheath acceleration mechanism using target thicknesses on the order of one micrometer.
Experiments on the National Ignition Facility show that multi-dimensional effects currently dominate the implosion performance. Low mode implosion symmetry and hydrodynamic instabilities seeded by capsule mounting features appear to be two key limiting factors for implosion performance. One reason these factors have a large impact on the performance of inertial confinement fusion implosions is the high convergence required to achieve high fusion gains. To tackle these problems, a predictable implosion platform is needed meaning experiments must trade-off high gain for performance. LANL has adopted three main approaches to develop a one-dimensional (1D) implosion platform where 1D means measured yield over the 1D clean calculation. A high adiabat, low convergence platform is being developed using beryllium capsules enabling larger case-to-capsule ratios to improve symmetry. The second approach is liquid fuel layers using wetted foam targets. With liquid fuel layers, the implosion convergence can be controlled via the initial vapor pressure set by the target fielding temperature. The last method is double shell targets. For double shells, the smaller inner shell houses the DT fuel and the convergence of this cavity is relatively small compared to hot spot ignition. However, double shell targets have a different set of trade-off versus advantages. Details for each of these approaches are described.
We demonstrate a high-contrast, joule-level Nd:glass laser system operating at 0.5 Hz repetition rate based on a double chirped pulse amplification (CPA) scheme. By injecting high-contrast, high-energy seed pulses into the Nd:glass CPA stage, the pulse energy is amplified to 1.9 J through two optical parametric CPA stages and two Nd:glass amplifiers. The temporal contrast of compressed pulse is measured down to the level of
at tens of ps, and
near 200 ps before the main pulse, respectively.
We report on the temporal contrast performance of the PHELIX facility in view of the requirements imposed by solid-target interaction experiments. The requirement analysis for the nanosecond and picosecond temporal contrast is derived from empirical data and simple theoretical modeling, while the realization shows that using an ultrafast optical parametric amplifier and plasma mirrors enables meeting this specification.
A diode-pumped alkali vapor laser (DPAL) is one of the most promising candidates of the next-generation high-powered laser source. As the saturated number density of alkali vapor is highly dependent on the temperature inside a vapor cell, the temperature distribution in the cross-section of a cell will greatly affect the homogeneity of a laser medium and the output characteristics of a DPAL. In this paper, we developed an algorithm based on the regime concluding quasi-Hilbert transform to evaluate the phase aberration of a wavefront when the probe beam passes through the vapor cell placed in one arm of a Mach–Zehnder interference setup. According to the theoretical algorithm, we deduced the temperature distribution of a cesium vapor cell for different heating conditions. The study is thought to be useful for development of a high-powered laser.
A diode-pumped alkali laser (DPAL) provides the significant promise for high-powered performances. In this paper, a mathematical model is introduced for examination of the kinetic processes of a diode-pumped cesium vapor hollow-core photonic-crystal fiber (HC-PCF) laser, in which the cesium vapor is filled in the center hole of a photonic-bandgap fiber instead of a glass cell. The influence of deleterious processes including energy pooling, photo-ionization, and Penning ionization on the physical features of a fiber DPAL is studied in this report. It has been theoretically demonstrated that the deleterious processes cannot be ignored in a high-powered fiber-DPAL system.
The Z-backlighter laser facility primarily consists of two high energy, high-power laser systems. Z-Beamlet laser (ZBL) (Rambo et al., Appl. Opt. 44, 2421 (2005)) is a multi-kJ-class, nanosecond laser operating at 1054 nm which is frequency doubled to 527 nm in order to provide x-ray backlighting of high energy density events on the Z-machine. Z-Petawatt (ZPW) (Schwarz et al., J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 112, 032020 (2008)) is a petawatt-class system operating at 1054 nm delivering up to 500 J in 500 fs for backlighting and various short-pulse laser experiments (see also Figure 10 for a facility overview). With the development of the magnetized liner inertial fusion (MagLIF) concept on the Z-machine, the primary backlighting missions of ZBL and ZPW have been adjusted accordingly. As a result, we have focused our recent efforts on increasing the output energy of ZBL from 2 to 4 kJ at 527 nm by modifying the fiber front end to now include extra bandwidth (for stimulated Brillouin scattering suppression). The MagLIF concept requires a well-defined/behaved beam for interaction with the pressurized fuel. Hence we have made great efforts to implement an adaptive optics system on ZBL and have explored the use of phase plates. We are also exploring concepts to use ZPW as a backlighter for ZBL driven MagLIF experiments. Alternatively, ZPW could be used as an additional fusion fuel pre-heater or as a temporally flexible high energy pre-pulse. All of these concepts require the ability to operate the ZPW in a nanosecond long-pulse mode, in which the beam can co-propagate with ZBL. Some of the proposed modifications are complete and most of them are well on their way.
Measured highly elevated gains of proton–boron (HB11) fusion (Picciotto et al., Phys. Rev. X 4, 031030 (2014)) confirmed the exceptional avalanche reaction process (Lalousis et al., Laser Part. Beams 32, 409 (2014); Hora et al., Laser Part. Beams 33, 607 (2015)) for the combination of the non-thermal block ignition using ultrahigh intensity laser pulses of picoseconds duration. The ultrahigh acceleration above
for plasma blocks was theoretically and numerically predicted since 1978 (Hora, Physics of Laser Driven Plasmas (Wiley, 1981), pp. 178 and 179) and measured (Sauerbrey, Phys. Plasmas 3, 4712 (1996)) in exact agreement (Hora et al., Phys. Plasmas 14, 072701 (2007)) when the dominating force was overcoming thermal processes. This is based on Maxwell’s stress tensor by the dielectric properties of plasma leading to the nonlinear (ponderomotive) force
resulting in ultra-fast expanding plasma blocks by a dielectric explosion. Combining this with measured ultrahigh magnetic fields and the avalanche process opens an option for an environmentally absolute clean and economic boron fusion power reactor. This is supported also by other experiments with very high HB11 reactions under different conditions (Labaune et al., Nature Commun. 4, 2506 (2013)).
The objective of the Apollon 10 PW project is the generation of 10 PW peak power pulses of 15 fs at
. In this paper a brief update on the current status of the Apollon project is presented, followed by a more detailed presentation of our experimental and theoretical investigations of the temporal characteristics of the laser. More specifically the design considerations as well as the technological and physical limitations to achieve the intended pulse duration and contrast are discussed.
We have developed high damage threshold filters to modify the spatial profile of a high energy laser beam. The filters are formed by laser ablation of a transmissive window. The ablation sites constitute scattering centers which can be filtered in a subsequent spatial filter. By creating the filters in dielectric materials, we see an increased laser-induced damage threshold from previous filters created using ‘metal on glass’ lithography.
The collective response of electrons in an ultrathin foil target irradiated by an ultraintense (
) laser pulse is investigated experimentally and via 3D particle-in-cell simulations. It is shown that if the target is sufficiently thin that the laser induces significant radiation pressure, but not thin enough to become relativistically transparent to the laser light, the resulting relativistic electron beam is elliptical, with the major axis of the ellipse directed along the laser polarization axis. When the target thickness is decreased such that it becomes relativistically transparent early in the interaction with the laser pulse, diffraction of the transmitted laser light occurs through a so called ‘relativistic plasma aperture’, inducing structure in the spatial-intensity profile of the beam of energetic electrons. It is shown that the electron beam profile can be modified by variation of the target thickness and degree of ellipticity in the laser polarization.
High coherence of the laser is indispensable light sources in modern long or short-distance imaging systems, because the high coherence leads to coherent artifacts such as speckle that corrupt image formation. To deliver low coherence pulses in fiber amplifiers, we utilize the superluminescent pulsed light with broad bandwidth, nonlongitudinal mode structure and chaotic mode phase as the seed source of the cascaded fiber amplifiers. The influence of fiber superluminescent pulse amplification (SPA) on the limitations of the performance is analyzed. A review of our research results for SPA in the fibers are present, including the nonlinear theories of this low coherent light sources, i.e., self-focusing (SF), stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) and self-phase modulation (SPM) effects, and the experiment results of the nanosecond pulses with peak power as high as 4.8 MW and pulse energy as much as 55 mJ. To improve the brightness of SPA light in the future work, we introduce our novel evaluation term and a more reasonable criterion, which is denoted by a new parameter of brightness factor for active large mode area fiber designs. A core-doped active large pitch fiber with a core diameter of
and a mode-field diameter of
is designed by this method. The designed fiber allows near diffracted limited beam quality operation, and it can achieve 100 mJ pulse energy and 540 W average power by analyzing the mode coupling effects induced by heat.
We have developed a new radiography setup with a short-pulse laser-driven x-ray source. Using a radiography axis perpendicular to both long- and short-pulse lasers allowed optimizing the incident angle of the short-pulse laser on the x-ray source target. The setup has been tested with various x-ray source target materials and different laser wavelengths. Signal to noise ratios are presented as well as achieved spatial resolutions. The high quality of our technique is illustrated on a plasma flow radiograph obtained during a laboratory astrophysics experiment on POLARs.
Heat handling has been a significant problem of the high power fiber laser systems as the output power increases rapidly. Cladding power stripper (CPS) which is used to deal with the unwanted optical power and light is required for higher cooling ability. So the methods of stripping the unwanted light attracted much attention recently, and the thermal effect is given. However, few investigations focus on the dissipation of the heat converted from the unwanted light. In this paper, an approach of active cooling for CPS is demonstrated. This is achieved by using microchannel cooling technology in heat sinking in CPS to improve the efficiency of heat exchange. In order to explain the mechanism of CPS the function of it and consistence of categories of the unwanted light are detailed firstly. Then microchannel heat sinking is proposed and verified by the heat exchange theory. At last, the design of the CPS with microchannel heat sinking is shown and following experiment is conducted. The final temperature of the device with 1000 W cladding power was demonstrated at last to verify the ability of heat distribution of the CPS component. This suggests that these CPSs can be used to stripe a thousand of watts of light in high power double cladding fiber lasers.
In this paper, the recent studies of laboratory astrophysics with strong magnetic fields in China have been reviewed. On the Shenguang-II laser facility of the National Laboratory on High-Power Lasers and Physics, a laser-driven strong magnetic field up to 200 T has been achieved. The experiment was performed to model the interaction of solar wind with dayside magnetosphere. Also the low beta plasma magnetic reconnection (MR) has been studied. Theoretically, the model has been developed to deal with the atomic structures and processes in strong magnetic field. Also the study of shock wave generation in the magnetized counter-streaming plasmas is introduced.
Ionization-induced electron injection in laser wakefield accelerators, which was recently proposed to lower the laser intensity threshold for electron trapping into the wake wave, has the drawback of generating electron beams with large and continuous energy spreads, severely limiting their future applications. Complex target designs based on separating the electron trapping and acceleration stages were proposed as the only way for getting small energy-spread electron beams. Here, based on the self-truncated ionization-injection concept which requires the use of unmatched laser–plasma parameters and by using tens of TW laser pulses focused onto a gas jet of helium mixed with low concentrations of nitrogen, we demonstrate single-stage laser wakefield acceleration of multi-hundred MeV electron bunches with energy spreads of a few percent. The experimental results are verified by PIC simulations.
The co-existence of the Raman and Brillouin backscattering instability is an important issue for inertial confinement fusion. The present paper presents extensive one-dimensional (1D) particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations for a wide range of parameters extending and complementing previous findings. PIC simulations show that the scenario of reflectivity evolution and saturation is very sensitive to the temperatures, intensities, size of plasma and boundary conditions employed. The Langmuir decay instability is observed for rather small
but has no influence on the saturation of Brillouin backscattering, although there is a clear correlation of Langmuir decay instability modes and ion-fractional decay for certain parameter ranges. Raman backscattering appears at any intensity and temperature but is only a transient phenomenon. In several configurations forward as well as backward Raman scattering is observed. For the intensities considered,
, Raman is always of bursty nature. A particular setup allows the simulation of multi-speckle aspects in which case it is found that Raman is self-limiting due to strong modifications of the distribution function. Kinetic effects are of prime importance for Raman backscattering at high temperatures. No unique scenario for the saturation of Raman scattering or Raman–Brillouin competition does exist. The main effect in the considered parameter range is pump depletion because of large Brillouin backscattering. However, in the low
regime the presence of ion-acoustic waves due to the Langmuir decay instability from the Raman created electron plasma waves can seed the ion-fractional decay and affect the Brillouin saturation.