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Short pulse interaction experiments for fast ignitor applications

  • M. BORGHESI (a1) (a2), A.J. MACKINNON (a1) (a3), R. GAILLARD (a1), G. MALKA (a1) (a4), C. VICKERS (a1), O. WILLI (a1), A.A. OFFENBERGER (a5), B. CANAUD (a6), J.L. MIQUEL (a7), N. BLANCHOT (a7), J.R. DAVIES (a8), A. PUKHOV (a9) and J. MEYER-TER-VEHN (a9)...

Abstract

A detailed investigation of many aspects of the physics of laser–plasma interaction at very high laser intensities is required in order to assess the feasibility and the promise of the fast ignitor scheme for inertial confinement fusion. Relevant results, obtained in a series of experiments carried out at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Chilton (UK) and at the Centre d'Etudes Atomique, Limeil Valenton (France), are presented and discussed here. In particular, the formation of plasma channels was observed following the propagation of relativistically intense, ps laser pulses through underdense plasmas. The channels persist long after the interaction, and their expansion has been measured. Efficient guiding of ultraintense laser pulses, both through preformed density channels and through solid guides, has been demonstrated. Finally, indication of collimated fast electron propagation through solid targets has been obtained from the observation of filamentary ionization tracks in laser irradiated solid targets.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: O. Willi, Imperial College, Plasma Physics Group, The Blackett Laboratory, Prince Consort Road, London SW72BZ (UK), UK. E-mail: O.Willi@ic.ac.uk

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