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On behalf of all at High Power Laser Science and Engineering we would like to congratulate the team at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) on demonstrating fusion ignition at the National Ignition Facility. This major scientific achievement was realized on the 5 December 2022 at the LLNL and announced at a press briefing on the 13 December 2022 by the United States Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. This was a historic milestone and the culmination of decades of effort.
Fusion energy research is delivering impressive new results emerging from different infrastructures and industrial devices evolving rapidly from ideas to proof-of-principle demonstration and aiming at the conceptual design of reactors for the production of electricity. A major milestone has recently been announced in laser fusion by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and is giving new thrust to laser-fusion energy research worldwide. Here we discuss how these circumstances strongly suggest the need for a European intermediate-energy facility dedicated to the physics and technology of laser-fusion ignition, the physics of fusion materials and advanced technologies for high-repetition-rate, high-average-power broadband lasers. We believe that the participation of the broader scientific community and the increased engagement of industry, in partnership with research and academic institutions, make most timely the construction of this infrastructure of extreme scientific attractiveness.
The first demonstration of laser action in ruby was made in 1960 by T. H. Maiman of Hughes Research Laboratories, USA. Many laboratories worldwide began the search for lasers using different materials, operating at different wavelengths. In the UK, academia, industry and the central laboratories took up the challenge from the earliest days to develop these systems for a broad range of applications. This historical review looks at the contribution the UK has made to the advancement of the technology, the development of systems and components and their exploitation over the last 60 years.
This paper provides an up-to-date review of the problems related to the generation, detection and mitigation of strong electromagnetic pulses created in the interaction of high-power, high-energy laser pulses with different types of solid targets. It includes new experimental data obtained independently at several international laboratories. The mechanisms of electromagnetic field generation are analyzed and considered as a function of the intensity and the spectral range of emissions they produce. The major emphasis is put on the GHz frequency domain, which is the most damaging for electronics and may have important applications. The physics of electromagnetic emissions in other spectral domains, in particular THz and MHz, is also discussed. The theoretical models and numerical simulations are compared with the results of experimental measurements, with special attention to the methodology of measurements and complementary diagnostics. Understanding the underlying physical processes is the basis for developing techniques to mitigate the electromagnetic threat and to harness electromagnetic emissions, which may have promising applications.
This paper describes the design and fabrication of a range of ‘gas cell’ microtargets produced by the Target Fabrication Group in the Central Laser Facility (CLF) for academic access experiments on the Orion laser facility at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE). The experiments were carried out by an academic consortium led by Imperial College London. The underlying target methodology was an evolution of a range of targets used for experiments on radiative shocks and involved the fabrication of a precision machined cell containing a number of apertures for interaction foils or diagnostic windows. The interior of the cell was gas-filled before laser irradiation. This paper details the assembly processes, thin film requirements and micro-machining processes needed to produce the targets. Also described is the implementation of a gas-fill system to produce targets that are filled to a pressure of 0.1–1 bar. The paper discusses the challenges that are posed by such a target.
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