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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 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.
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.
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