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The recent achievement of fusion ignition with laser-driven technologies at the National Ignition Facility sets a historic accomplishment in fusion energy research. This accomplishment paves the way for using laser inertial fusion as a viable approach for future energy production. Europe has a unique opportunity to empower research in this field internationally, and the scientific community is eager to engage in this journey. We propose establishing a European programme on inertial-fusion energy with the mission to demonstrate laser-driven ignition in the direct-drive scheme and to develop pathway technologies for the commercial fusion reactor. The proposed roadmap is based on four complementary axes: (i) the physics of laser–plasma interaction and burning plasmas; (ii) high-energy high repetition rate laser technology; (iii) fusion reactor technology and materials; and (iv) reinforcement of the laser fusion community by international education and training programmes. We foresee collaboration with universities, research centres and industry and establishing joint activities with the private sector involved in laser fusion. This project aims to stimulate a broad range of high-profile industrial developments in laser, plasma and radiation technologies along with the expected high-level socio-economic impact.
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.
The Erasmus Plus programme ‘Innovative Education and Training in high power laser plasmas’, otherwise known as PowerLaPs, is described. The PowerLaPs programme employs an innovative paradigm in that it is a multi-centre programme where teaching takes place in five separate institutes with a range of different aims and styles of delivery. The ‘in class’ time is limited to four weeks a year, and the programme spans two years. PowerLaPs aims to train students from across Europe in theoretical, applied and laboratory skills relevant to the pursuit of research in laser–plasma interaction physics and inertial confinement fusion (ICF). Lectures are intermingled with laboratory sessions and continuous assessment activities. The programme, which is led by workers from the Technological Educational Institute (TEI) of Crete, and supported by co-workers from the Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Bordeaux, the Czech Technical University in Prague, Ecole Polytechnique, the University of Ioannina, the University of Salamanca and the University of York, has just completed its first year. Thus far three Learning Teaching Training (LTT) activities have been held, at the Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Bordeaux and the Centre for Plasma Physics and Lasers (CPPL) of TEI Crete. The last of these was a two-week long Intensive Programme (IP), while the activities at the other two universities were each five days in length. Thus far work has concentrated upon training in both theoretical and experimental work in plasma physics, high power laser–matter interactions and high energy density physics. The nature of the programme will be described in detail and some metrics relating to the activities carried out to date will be presented.
One-dimensional particle-in-cell and Monte-Carlo (FLUKA) simulation methods were used together, in order to investigate the production of positrons in lead targets, illuminated by a short-pulse high-intensity laser. The study is focused on lead targets of 1 mm thickness and more and pulses of intensity in the range 1019–1022 W/cm2. The calculations provided an estimate of an absolute number of positrons and the ratio of electrons and positrons emerging from the target. The thickness of the target is scaled in order to find an optimal thickness that could provide a neutral electron-positron beam.
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