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This paper provides a summary of recent research connected with the shock ignition (SI) concept of the inertial confinement fusion which was carried out at PALS. In the experiments, Cu planar targets coated with a thin CH layer were used. Two-beam irradiation experiment was applied to investigate the effect of preliminary produced plasma to shock-wave generation. The 1ω or 3ω main beam with a high intensity >1015 W/cm2 generates shock wave, while the other 1ω beam with the intensity below 1014 W/cm2 creates CH pre-plasma simulating the pre-compressed plasma related to SI. Influence of laser wavelength on absorbed energy transfer to shock wave was studied by means of femtosecond interferometry and measuring the crater volume. To characterize the hot electron and ion emission, two-dimensional (2D) Kα-imaging of Cu plasma and grid collector measurements were used. In single 1ω beam experiments energy transport by fast electrons produced by resonant absorption made a significant contribution to shock-wave pressure. However, two-beam experiments with 1ω main beam show that the pre-plasma is strongly degrading the scalelength which leads to decreasing the fast electron energy contribution to shock pressure. In both the single 3ω beam experiments and the two-beam experiments with the 3ω main beam, do not show any clear influence of fast electron transport on shock-wave pressure. The non-monotonic behavior of the scalelength at changing the laser beam focal radius in both presence and absence of pre-plasma reflects the competition of plasma motion and electron heat conduction under the conditions of one-dimensional and 2D plasma expansion at large and small focal radii, respectively.
The generalized theory of terawatt laser pulse interaction with a low-dense porous substance of light chemical elements including laser light absorption and energy transfer in a wide region of parameter variation is developed on the base of the model of laser-supported hydrothermal wave in a partially homogenized plasma. Laser light absorption, hydrodynamic motion, and electron thermal conductivity are implemented in the hydrodynamic code, according to the degree of laser-driven homogenization of the laser-produced plasma. The results of numerical simulations obtained by using the hydrodynamic code are presented. The features of laser-supported hydrothermal wave in both possible cases of a porous substance with a density smaller and larger than critical plasma density are discussed along with the comparison with the experiments. The results are addressed to the development of design of laser thermonuclear target as well as and powerful neutron and X-ray sources.
The paper is a continuation of research carried out at Prague Asterix Laser System (PALS) related to the shock ignition (SI) approach in inertial fusion, which was carried out with use of 1ω main laser beam as the main beam generating a shock wave. Two-layer targets were used, consisting of Cu massive planar target coated with a thin polyethylene layer, which, in the case of two-beam irradiation geometry, simulate conditions related to the SI scenario. The investigations presented in this paper are related to the use of 3ω to create ablation pressure for high-power shock wave generation. The interferometric studies of the ablative plasma expansion, complemented by measurements of crater volumes and Kα emission, clearly demonstrate the effect of changing the incident laser intensity due to changing the focal radius on efficiency of laser energy transfer to a shock wave and fast electron emission. The efficiency of the energy transfer increases with the radius of the focused laser beam. The pre-plasma does not significantly change the character of this effect. However, it unambiguously results in the increasing temperature of fast electrons, the total energy of which remains very small (<0.1% of the laser energy). This study shows that the optimal radius from the point of view of 3ω radiation energy transfer to the shock wave is the maximal one used in these experiments and equal to 200 µm that corresponds to the minimal effect of two-dimensional (2D)-expansion. Such a result is typical for the ablation process determined by electron conductivity energy transfer under the conditions of one-dimensional or 2D matter expansion without any appreciable effect due to energy transfer by fast electrons. The 2D simulations based on application of the ALANT-HE code and an analytical model that includes generation and transport of hot electrons has been used to support of experimental data.
In the previous works (Rozanov et al., 2013; 2015) we have performed one-dimensional (1D) numerical simulations of the target compression and burning at the absorbed energy of ~1.5 MJ. As a result, the target was chosen to have a low initial aspect ratio in order to be less sensitive to the influence of such parameters as laser pulse duration, total laser energy, and equations of state model. The simulation results demonstrated a higher probability of ignition and effective burning of such a system. In the present work we discuss the impact of irradiation asymmetry on this baseline target implosion. The details of the 1D compression and a possible influence of 2D and 3D effects due to the hydrodynamic instability and mixing have been described. In accordance with the 2D calculations the target is still ignited, however, the symmetry analysis of 3D ones gives reasons to further reduce the efficiency of conversion of kinetic energy into potential energy.
This paper reports on properties of a plasma formed by sequential action of two laser beams on a flat target, simulating the conditions of shock-ignited inertial confinement fusion target exposure. The experiments were performed using planar targets consisting of a massive copper (Cu) plate coated with a thin plastic (CH) layer, which was irradiated by the 1ω PALS laser beam (λ = 1.315 μm) at the energy of 250 J. The intensity of the fixed-energy laser beam was scaled by varying the focal spot radius. To imitate shock ignition conditions, the lower-intensity auxiliary 1ω beam created CH-pre-plasma which was irradiated by the main beam with a delay of 1.2 ns, thus generating a shock wave in the massive part of the target. To study the parameters of the plasma treated by the two-beam irradiation of the targets, a set of various diagnostics was applied, namely: (i) Two-channel polaro-interferometric system irradiated by the femtosecond laser (~40 fs), (ii) spectroscopic measurements in the X-ray range, (iii) two-dimensional (2D)-resolved imaging of the Kα line emission from Cu, (iv) measurements of the ion emission by means of ion collectors, and (v) measurements of the volume of craters produced in a massive target providing information on the efficiency of the laser energy transfer to the shock wave. The 2D numerical simulations have been used to support the interpretation of experimental data. The general conclusion is that the fraction of the main laser beam energy deposited into the massive copper at two-beam irradiation decreases in comparison with the case of pre-plasma. The reason is that the pre-formed and expanding plasma deteriorates the efficiency of the energy transfer from the main laser pulse to a solid part of the targets by means of the fast electrons and the wave of an electron thermal conductivity.
In our earlier papers, we demonstrated that plasma pressure decreases with the growing atomic number of the target material. That experimentally confirmed fact brought about a question whether it would be possible to collimate the Al plasma outflow by using plastic plasma as a compressor. To prove that idea we used in our next experiments a plastic target with an Al cylindrical insert of 400 µm in diameter. The measurements were carried out at the Prague Asterix Laser System iodine laser facility. The laser provided a 250 ps (full width at half maximum (FWHM)) pulse with energy of 130 J at the third harmonic frequency (λ3 = 0.438 µm). The focal spot diameters (ΦL) 800, 1000, and 1200 µm ensured predominance of the plastic plasma amount high enough for the effective Al plasma compression. To study the Al plasma stream propagation and its interaction with plastic plasma a three-frame interferometric system and an X-ray camera were used. The experiment provided a proof that creation of the collimated Al plasma jet by action of outer plastic plasma is feasible. In order to discuss of the experimental results a thorough theoretical analysis was carried out.
Recent experimental results demonstrated that well formed plasma jets can be produced at laser interaction with targets made of materials with high atomic number (A ≥ 29 where A = 29 corresponds to Cu). On the contrary, it is impossible to launch a plasma jet on low-A material targets like plastic. This paper is aimed at explanation of this difference by considering mechanisms responsible for plasma jet formation, i.e., the radiative cooling of ablative plasma and the influence of target irradiation annular profile speculated hitherto, newly complemented by different expansion regimes of the Cu and plastic plasmas (provided by numerical simulations). The experiment was carried out with the PALS iodine laser. Two different planar massive targets, plastic and Cu, as well as the plastic target covered by thin Cu layers of various thicknesses were irradiated by the third harmonic laser beam of energy of 30 J, pulse duration of 250 ps (full width at half maximum), and the focal spot radius of 400 µm. To find the most suitable range of these layers (from 28 to 190 nm) a simple analytical model of laser-driven evaporation was developed. Three-frame laser interferometer and an X-ray streak camera were used as two main diagnostic tools. Numerical modeling was performed with the use of two-dimensional hydrodynamic code ATLANT-HE. Results provided from experiments and theoretical analyses have proved that the process of plasma jet formation is rather complex. Relative importance of the three mechanisms mentioned above depends on the target irradiation geometry as well as the target material used.
Theoretical and experimental studies of radiative properties of hot dense plasmas that are used as soft X-ray sources have been carried out depending on the plasma composition. Important features of the theoretical model, which can be used for complex materials, are discussed. An optimizing procedure that can determine an effective complex material to produce optically thick plasma by laser interaction with a thick solid target is applied. The efficiency of the resulting material is compared with the efficiency of other composite materials that have previously been evaluated theoretically. It is shown that the optimizing procedure does, in practice, find higher radiation efficiency materials than have been found by previous authors. Similar theoretical research is performed for the optically thin plasma produced from exploding wires. Theoretical estimations of radiative efficiency are compared with experimental data that are obtained from measurements of X-pinch radiation energy yield using two exploding wire materials, NiCr and Alloy 188. It is shown that theoretical calculations agree well with the experimental data.
Interactions of sub-nanosecond pulses of kJ-class iodine laser
“PALS” with low-density foams and acceleration of Al foils by
the pressure of the heated foam matter are investigated here, both
experimentally and theoretically. X-ray streak camera is used for
evaluation of the speed of energy transfer through the porous foam
material. The shock-wave arrival on the rear side of the target is
monitored by optical streak camera. Accelerated foil velocities, measured
by three-frame optical interferometers, and shadowgraphs, reach up to
107 cm/s. The accelerated foil shape is smooth without any
signature of small-scale structures present in the incident laser beam.
Conversion efficiencies as high as 14% of the laser energy into the
kinetic energy of Al foil are derived. Experimental results compare well
with our two-dimensional hydrodynamics simulations and with an approximate
Experiments have been performed on the interaction
physics of laser light with polystyrene and agar–agar
foams having average densities higher than critical. The
experiments have been performed at the ABC facility of
the Associazione EURATOM-ENEA sulla Fusione, in Frascati.
The main addressed topics have been energy coupling (balance),
diffusion of energy into the target, plasma and dense phase
dynamics, and harmonics generation. The laser light (λ =
1.054 μm) was focused by a F/1 lens to produce on the target
surface about 1.6 × 1014 W/cm2
(≈1015 W/cm2 in the waist, set about
100 μm inside the target). Experiments have shown efficient
energy coupling (>80%) to be attributed to cavity formation
in the low density foam (efficient light absorption) and good
mechanical coupling of the plasma trapped in the cavity to the
dense phase (ablation pressure work). Heat diffusion possibly
plays a transitory role in the initial stages of the interaction
(300–500 ps). Time integrated harmonics measurements
revealed a blue-shifted 2ω and a red-shifted 5/2ω.
This paper is devoted to the investigation of powerful
laser pulse interaction with regularly and statistically
volume-structured media with near critical average density
and properties of laser-produced plasma of such a media.
The results of the latest experiments on laser pulse interaction
with plane foam targets performed on Nd-laser facilities
“ABC” in the ENEA-EURATOM Association (Frascati,
Italy) and “MISHEN” in the Troitsk Institute
of Innovation Thermonuclear Investigations (TRINITI, Troitsk
Russia), and J-laser “ISKRA-4” in the Russian
Federal Nuclear Center, All-Russian Scientific Research
Institute of Experimental Physics (RFNC-VNIIEF, Sarov,
Russia) are presented and analyzed. High efficiency of
the internal volume absorption of laser radiation in the
foams of supercritical density was observed, and the dynamics
of absorbing region formation and velocity of energy transfer
process versus the parameters of porous matter
are found. Some inertial confinement fusion (ICF) applications
based on nonequilibrium properties of laser-produced plasma
of a foam and regularly structured media such as the powerful
neutron source with yield of 109–1011
DT-neutrons per 1 J of laser energy, laser-produced X-ray
generation in high temperature supercritical plasma, and
the compact ICF target absorbers providing effective smoothing
and ablation are proposed.
A possibility of input of high-power laser pulse into a
cavity through a hole was studied by means of 2D numerical
calculations. Such tasks appear in view of investigation
of the effective targets with internal input of energy
(Bessarab et al. 1992; Basov et al. 1998),
“cannon-ball” (Hogan 1989), “Greenhouse”
targets (Gus'kov et al. 1995).
We have used two Euler codes “NUTCY” and “FAKEL”
to model the problems of laser beam input into a cavity
through the holes.
The interaction of powerful laser and X-ray pulses
with planar low average density (0.5–10 mg/cm3)
porous agar-agar targets was experimentally studied. At
a laser power density of ∼5 × 1013
W/cm2 (λ = 1.054 μm) the laser light
absorption and following energy transfer processes, as well
as dynamics of produced plasma were investigated in detail
with a variety of optical and X-ray diagnostic methods. Volume
absorption is shown to occur in experiments with laser-irradiated
agar targets. An extended laser energy deposition region filled
with hot (0.8–1 keV) plasma is formed inside a porous
target. The laser light absorption efficiency is as high as ∼80%.
The emission of 2ω0 and 3ω0/2 harmonics
from laser-produced plasma is observed over the time of the laser pulse
even with agar targets of 0.5 mg/cm3 average density.
Characteristics of energy transfer in low-density porous media are
measured in experiments on illumination of agar targets by laser
pulses or X rays emitted by a thin Cu converter. The hydrodynamic
mechanism is responsible for the energy transfer in laser-illuminated
porous targets and the radiative energy transfer seems to be dominant
in the case of X-ray irradiation. The experimental data are in
reasonable agreement with predictions of a developed theoretical model
describing the hot plasma layer formation and the two-stage homogenization
process within the illuminated porous targets.
Experimental study of the radiation scattered at the laser
heating of low-density foam targets and transmitted through
the targets is presented. The scattered and transmitted
radiations were investigated using spectrometers and streak
cameras providing spatial, angular, spectral and temporal
resolutions that enabled us to study the dynamics of the
process of burning-through of the thick foam targets, the
velocities of the plasma critical density motion as well
as mass velocity of the plasma.
The idea of controlling the plasma flows in laser targets by action of a strong external magnetic field (H ≥ 1 MG) is presented. The magnetic control of plasma flows for the keeping of a transparency of entrance holes of indirect-compression targets and other type targets operating at an introduction of the laser beams into the interior of the target is suggested. It is shown that the magnetic field, transverse versus the direction of the propagation of the plasma flow with an intensity of 2–4 MG, causes a decrease (1.5–3 times) of the closing speed of holes for the laser beam introduction into the hohlraum target.
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