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Self-emission x-ray shadowgraphy provides a method to measure the ablation-front trajectory and low-mode nonuniformity of a target imploded by directly illuminating a fusion capsule with laser beams. The technique uses time-resolved images of soft x-rays (
keV) emitted from the coronal plasma of the target imaged onto an x-ray framing camera to determine the position of the ablation front. Methods used to accurately measure the ablation-front radius (
), image-to-image timing (
ps) and absolute timing (
ps) are presented. Angular averaging of the images provides an average radius measurement of
and an error in velocity of
. This technique was applied on the Omega Laser Facility [Boehly et al., Opt. Commun. 133, 495 (1997)] and the National Ignition Facility [Campbell and Hogan, Plasma Phys. Control. Fusion 41, B39 (1999)].
Experiments to demonstrate the effects of various
beam-smoothing techniques have been performed on the 60-beam,
30-kJ UV OMEGA laser system. These include direct measurements
of the effect beam-smoothing techniques have on laser beam
nonuniformity and on both planar and spherical targets.
Demonstrated techniques include polarization smoothing
and “dual-tripler” third-harmonic generation
required for future broad bandwidth (∼1 THz) smoothing
by spectral dispersion (SSD). The effects of improvements
in single-beam uniformity are clearly seen in the target-physics
experiments, which also show the effect of the laser pulse
shape on the efficacy of SSD smoothing. Saturation of the
Rayleigh-Taylor (RT) growth of the broad-bandwidth features,
in agreement with the Haan model (Haan, 1989), produced
by laser imprinting has also been observed.
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