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In inertial confinement fusion experiments that involve short-laser pulses such as fast ignition (FI), diagnosis of neutrons is usually very challenging because high-intensity γ rays generated by short-laser pulses would mask the much weaker neutron signal. In this paper, fast-response scintillators with low afterglow and gated microchannel plate photomultiplier tubes are combined to build neutron time-of-flight (nTOF) spectrometers for such experiments. Direct-drive implosion experiments of deuterium-gas-filled capsules were performed at the Shenguang-II Upgrade (SG-II-UP) laser facility to study the compressed fuel areal density (〈ρR〉) and evaluate the performance of such nTOF diagnostics. Two newly developed quenched liquid scintillator detectors and a gated ultrafast plastic scintillator detector were used to measure the secondary DT neutrons and primary DD neutrons, respectively. The secondary neutron signals were clearly discriminated from the γ rays from (n, γ) reactions, and the compressed fuel areal density obtained with the yield-ratio method agrees well with the simulations. Additionally, a small scintillator decay tail and a clear DD neutron signal were observed in an integrated FI experiment as a result of the low afterglow of the oxygen-quenched liquid scintillator.
Muons produced by a short pulse laser can serve as a new type of muon source having potential advantages of high intensity, small source emittance, short pulse duration and low cost. To validate it in experiments, a suitable muon diagnostics system is needed since high muon flux generated by a short pulse laser shot is always accompanied by high radiation background, which is quite different from cases in general muon researches. A detection system is proposed to distinguish muon signals from radiation background by measuring the muon lifetime. It is based on the scintillator detector with water and lead shields, in which water is used to adjust energies of muons stopped in the scintillator and lead to against radiation background. A Geant4 simulation on the performance of the detection system shows that efficiency up to 52% could be arrived for low-energy muons around 200 MeV and this efficiency decreases to 14% for high-energy muons above 1000 MeV. The simulation also shows that the muon lifetime can be derived properly by measuring attenuation of the scintilla light of electrons from muon decays inside the scintillator detector.
The laser-driven acceleration of proton beams from a double-layer cone target, comprised of a cone shaped high-Z material target with a low density proton layer, is investigated via two-dimensional fully relativistic electro-magnetic particle-in-cell simulations. The dependence of the inside diameter (ID) of the tip size of a double-layer cone target on proton beam characteristics is demonstrated. Our results show that the peak energy of proton beams significantly increases and the divergence angle decreases with decreasing ID size. This can be explained by the combined effects of a stronger laser field that is focused inside the cone target and a larger laser interaction area by reducing the ID size.
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