An accelerated micro-foil is used to ignite a pre-compressed cylindrical shell containing deuterium–tritium fuel. The well-known shock wave ignition criterion and a novel criterion based on heat wave ignition are developed in this work. It is shown that for heat ignition very high impact velocities are required. It is suggested that a multi-petawatt laser can accelerate a micro-foil to relativistic velocities in a very short time duration (~picosecond) of the laser pulse. The cylindrical geometry suggested here for the fast ignition approach has the advantage of geometrically separating the nanosecond lasers that compress the target from the picosecond laser that accelerates the foil. The present model suggests that nuclear fusion by micro-foil impact ignition could be attained with currently existing technology.
The chemical oxygen–iodine laser (COIL) is the shortest-wavelength high-power chemical laser that has been demonstrated. The characteristics, such as good atmospheric propagation, short wavelength and excellent transmission through optical fibers, make the COIL a good candidate for high-power laser application. To model the complete COIL lasing interaction, a three-dimensional formulation of the fluid dynamics, species continuity and radiation transport equations is necessary. The computational effort to calculate the flow field over the entire nozzle bank with a grid fine enough to resolve the injection holes is so large as to preclude doing the calculation. The approach to modeling chemical lasers then has been to reduce the complexity of the model to correspond to the available computational capability, adding details as computing power increased. The modeling of lasing in the COIL medium is proposed, which is coupling with the effects induced by transverse injection of secondary gases, non-equilibrium chemical reactions, nozzle tail flow and boundary layer. The coupled steady solutions of the fluid dynamics and optics in a COIL complex three-dimensional cavity flow field are obtained following the proposal. The modeling results show that these effects have some influence on the lasing properties. A feasible methodology and a theoretical tool are offered to predict the beam quality for large-scale COIL devices.
The laser system PALS, as a driver of a broad-beam ion source, delivered deuterons which generated neutrons with energies higher than 14 MeV through the 7Li(d, n)8Be reaction. Deuterons with sub-MeV energy were accelerated from the front surface of a massive CD2 target in the backward direction with respect to the laser beam vector. Simultaneously, neutrons were emitted from the primary CD2 target and a secondary LiF catcher. The total maximum measured neutron yield from 2D(d, n)3He, 7Li(d, n)8Be, 12C(d, n)13N reactions was ~3.5(±0.5) × 108 neutrons/shot.
A diode-pumped master oscillator power amplifier system based on a cryogenic Yb:YAG active-mirror laser has been developed. The performances of the laser amplifier at low temperature and room temperature have been investigated theoretically and experimentally. A maximum output energy of 3.05 J with an optical-to-optical efficiency of 14.7% has been achieved by using the master amplifier system.
We present a 940 nm quasi-continuous wave semiconductor laser designed as a building block for high-power fiber coupled pump modules. The laser comprises a 400 μm narrow-stripe array mounted on an aluminum nitride substrate using hard solder. The chip has been optimized for high optical power and low lateral far-field angles. Two vertical and six lateral structure variations have been investigated to determine the best achievable performance. Operating at 1 ms pulse width and a repetition rate of 10 Hz, the laser device reaches a maximum pulse power of 86 W from a 400 μm aperture and more than 62% maximum conversion efficiency. Low lateral far-field angles (95% power enclosed) of 11.5 and 13.5°, depending on the epitaxial design, enable efficient multimode fiber coupling. The potential for highly reliable applications has been demonstrated.
We present the first steps of a design of the optimal parameters for a full Bragg X-Ray free electron laser (BX-FEL). Aiming towards a future source of coherent X-ray radiation, operating in the strong Compton regime, we envisage the system to be the seed for an advanced light source or compact medical X-ray source. Here we focus on the design of the accelerator parameters: maximum gradient, optimal accelerated charge, maximum efficiency, and ‘wake coefficient’, which relates to the decelerating electric field generated due to the motion of a charged-line or train of charged-lines. Specifically, we demonstrate that the maximum efficiency has optimal value and given the fluence of the materials, the maximum accelerated charge in the train is constant. These two results might be important in any future design.
A preliminary investigation on short-wavelength ablation mechanisms of poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) and poly (1,4-phenylene ether ether-sulfone) (PPEES) by extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation at 13.5 nm using a table-top laserproduced plasma from a gas-puff target at LLG (Gottingen) and at 46.9 nm by a 10 Hz desktop capillary discharge laser operated at the Institute of Physics (Prague) is presented. Ablation of polymer materials is initiated by photoinduced polymer chain scissions. The ablation occurs due to the formation of volatile products by the EUV radiolysis removed as an ablation plume from the irradiated material into the vacuum. In general, cross-linking of polymer molecules can compete with the chain decomposition. Both processes may influence the efficiency and quality of micro(nano)structuring in polymer materials. Wavelength is a critical parameter to be taken into account when an EUV ablation process occurs, because different wavelengths result in different energy densities in the near-surface region of the polymer exposed to nanosecond pulses of intense EUV radiation.
A numerical method providing the optimal laser intensity profiles for a direct-drive inertial confinement fusion scheme has been developed. The method provides an alternative approach to phase-space optimization studies, which can prove computationally expensive. The method applies to a generic irradiation configuration characterized by an arbitrary number NB of laser beams provided that they irradiate the whole target surface, and thus goes beyond previous analyses limited to symmetric configurations. The calculated laser intensity profiles optimize the illumination of a spherical target. This paper focuses on description of the method, which uses two steps: first, the target irradiation is calculated for initial trial laser intensities, and then in a second step the optimal laser intensities are obtained by correcting the trial intensities using the calculated illumination. A limited number of example applications to direct drive on the Laser MegaJoule (LMJ) are described.
The dispersion of a pair of prisms is analyzed by means of a ray-tracing method operating at other than tip-to-tip propagation of the prisms, taking into consideration the limited spectral bandwidth. The variations of the group delay dispersion and the third-order dispersion for a pair of prisms are calculated with respect to the incident position and the separation between the prisms. The pair of prisms can provide a wide range of independent and continuous third-order dispersion compensation. The effect of residual third-order dispersion on the pulse contrast ratio and pulse duration is also calculated. The residual third-order dispersion not only worsens the pulse contrast ratio, but also increases the pulse duration to the hundreds of femtosecond range for a tens of femtosecond pulse, even when the residual thirdorder dispersion is small. These phenomena are helpful in compensating for the residual high-order dispersion and in understanding its effect on pulse contrast ratios and pulse durations in ultrashort laser systems.
The high repetition rate 10 J/10 ns Yb:YAG laser system and its key techniques are reported. The amplifiers in this system have a multi-pass V-shape structure and the heat in the amplifiers is removed by means of laminar water flow. In the main amplifier, the laser is four-pass, and an approximately 8.5 J/1 Hz/10 ns output is achieved in the primary test. The far-field of the output beam is approximately 10 times the diffraction limit. Because of the higher levels of amplified spontaneous emission (ASE) in the main amplifier, the output energy is lower than expected. At the end we discuss some measures that can improve the properties of the laser system.
We propose a general methodology to define the optimum doping ion volume distribution required for an efficient solid-state laser amplifier. This approach is illustrated in the context of two experimental diode pumped Yb:YAG amplifiers operating at 300 and 160 K. Processing of such tailored gain media is now possible through horizontal direct crystallization.
High harmonic generation in gas jets was investigated in different gases up to more than 14 bar backing pressure. The observation of increase of harmonic intensity with increasing pressure and laser intensity shows evidence of the presence of clusters in Xe with an increased efficiency compared with He, whereas Ar is an intermediate case for which clusters will start to dominate above a certain backing pressure. Spectral investigations give evidence for tunable harmonic generation in a broad spectral range. A spectral shift of opposite signature caused by the free electrons in the focal volume and the nanoplasmas inside the cluster was observed.
Cerenkov wake amplification can be used as an accelerating scheme, in which a trigger bunch of electrons propagating inside a cylindrical waveguide filled with an active medium generates an initial wake field. Due to the multiple reflections inside the waveguide, the wake may be amplified significantly more strongly than when propagating in a boundless medium. Sufficiently far away from the trigger bunch the wake, which travels with the same phase velocity as the bunch, reaches saturation and it can accelerate a second bunch of electrons trailing behind. For a CO2 gas mixture our numerical and analytical calculations indicate that a short saturation length and a high gradient can be achieved with a large waveguide radius filled with a high density of excited atoms and a trigger bunch that travels at a velocity slightly above the Cerenkov velocity. To obtain a stable level of saturated wake that will be suitable for particle acceleration, it is crucial to satisfy the single-mode resonance condition, which requires high accuracy in the waveguide radius and the ratio between the electron phase velocity and the Cerenkov velocity. For single-mode propagation our model indicates that it is feasible to obtain gradients as high as GV m?1 in a waveguide length of cm.
The energy transfer by stimulated Brillouin backscatter from a long pump pulse (15 ps) to a short seed pulse (1 ps) has been investigated in a proof-of-principle demonstration experiment. The two pulses were both amplified in different beamlines of a Nd:glass laser system, had a central wavelength of 1054 nm and a spectral bandwidth of 2 nm, and crossed each other in an underdense plasma in a counter-propagating geometry, off-set by 10. It is shown that the energy transfer and the wavelength of the generated Brillouin peak depend on the plasma density, the intensity of the laser pulses, and the competition between two-plasmon decay and stimulated Raman scatter instabilities. The highest obtained energy transfer from pump to probe pulse is 2.5%, at a plasma density of 0:17ncr , and this energy transfer increases significantly with plasma density. Therefore, our results suggest that much higher efficiencies can be obtained when higher densities (above 0:25ncr ) are used.
The role of the coronal electron plasma temperature for shock-ignition conditions is analysed with respect to the dominant parametric processes: stimulated Brillouin scattering, stimulated Raman scattering, two-plasmon decay (TPD), Langmuir decay instability (LDI) and cavitation. TPD instability and cavitation are sensitive to the electron temperature. At the same time the reflectivity and high-energy electron production are strongly affected. For low plasma temperatures the LDI plays a dominant role in the TPD saturation. An understanding of laser–plasma interaction in the context of shock ignition is an important issue due to the localization of energy deposition by collective effects and hot electron production. This in turn can have consequences for the compression phase and the resulting gain factor of the implosion phase.
In high-power laser systems (HPLSs), understanding debris-removal trajectories is important in eliminating debris from the surfaces of transport mirrors online and keeping other optical components free from contamination. NS equations, the RNG k–" model and the discrete phase model of the Euler–Lagrange method are used to conduct numerical simulations on the trajectories of contaminant particles of different sizes and types on the mirror surface using Fluent commercial software. A useful device is fabricated based on the simulation results. This device can capture and collect debris from the mirror surface online. Consequently, the effect of debris contamination on other optical components is avoided, cleaning time is shortened, and ultimately, the cleanliness of the mirrors in HPLSs is ensured.
Recently there has been great progress in laser-driven plasma-based accelerators by exploiting high-power lasers, where electron beams can be accelerated to multi-GeV energy in a centimeter-scale plasma due to the laser wakefield acceleration mechanism. While, to date, worldwide research on laser plasma accelerators has been focused on the creation of compact particle and radiation sources for basic sciences, medical and industrial applications, there is great interest in applications for high-energy physics and astrophysics, exploring unprecedented high-energy frontier phenomena. In this context, we present an overview of experimental achievements in laser plasma acceleration from the perspective of the production of GeV-level electron beams, and deduce the scaling formulas capable of predicting experimental results self-consistently, taking into account the propagation of a relativistic laser pulse through plasma and the accelerating field reduction due to beam loading. Finally, we present design examples for 10-GeV-level laser plasma acceleration, which is expected in near-term experiments by means of petawatt-class lasers.
The work presented in this paper is a study of output temporal contrast degradation by near-field quality deterioration, such as intensity modulation and wavefront deviation, in a large aperture high power short pulse laser system. A twostep focusing algorithm with a coordinate transform based on the Fresnel approximation in the space domain is used for simulating the output focused by an off-axis parabolic mirror. The temporal contrast degradation by intensity modulation and wavefront deviation is analyzed and the influence of the diameter on the temporal contrast degradation is revealed. The simulation and assumption results based on the parameters of the Shen Guang-II laser system are compared with the online experimental temporal contrast data. The near-field quality deterioration might lead to temporal contrast degradation, hindering higher temporal contrast in large aperture high power short pulse laser systems.
This article describes the fabrication of a suite of laser targets by the Target Fabrication group in the Central Laser Facility (CLF), STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory for the first academic-access experiment on the Orion laser facility (Hopps et al., Appl. Opt. 52, 3597–3601 (2013)) at AtomicWeapons Establishment (AWE). This experiment, part of the POLAR project (Falize et al., Astrophys. Space Sci. 336, 81–85 (2011); Busschaert et al., New J. Phys. 15, 035020 (2013)), studied conditions relevant to the radiation-hydrodynamic processes occurring in a remarkable class of astrophysical star systems known as magnetic cataclysmic variables. A large number of complex fabrication technologies and research and development activities were required to field a total of 80 high-specification targets. Target design and fabrication procedures are described and initial alignment and characterization data are discussed.
We deduce a complete wave propagation equation that includes inhomogeneity of the dielectric constant and present this propagation equation in compact vector form. Although similar equations are known in narrow fields such as radio wave propagation in the ionosphere and electromagnetic and acoustic wave propagation in stratified media, we develop here a novel approach of using such equations in the modeling of laser beam propagation in nonlinear media. Our approach satisfies the correspondence principle since in the limit of zero-length wavelength it reduces from physical to geometrical optics.
Rapid growth processing of KDP crystals was improved by employing continuous filtration to eliminate bulk defects. The performances of the KDP crystals, including scattering defects, laser damage resistance and transmittance, were measured and analyzed. Compared with rapid-grown KDP without continuous filtration, the transmittance in the nearinfrared was increased by at least 2%, almost all of ‘micron size’ defects were eliminated and ‘sub-micron size’ defects were decreased by approximately 90%. Laser damage testing revealed that the laser-induced damage thresholds (LIDTs), as well as the consistency of the LIDTs from sample to sample, were improved greatly. Moreover, it identified that ‘micron size’ defects were the precursors which initiated laser damage at relative lower laser fluence (4–6 J cm-2), and there was a lower correlation between smaller size scattering defects and laser damage initiation. The improved consistency in the LIDTs, attributed to elimination of ‘micron size’ defects, and LIDT enhancement originated from the decreased absorption of the KDP crystals.
The Shenguang-II Upgrade (SG-II Up) facility is an under-construction high-power laser driver with eight beams, 24 kJ energy, 3 ns pulse duration and ultraviolet laser output, in the Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, China. The prototype design and experimental research of the prototype final optics assembly (FOA), which is one of the most important parts of the SG-II Up facility, have been completed on the ninth beam of the SG-II facility. Thirty-three shots were fired using 1-! energy from 1000 to 4500 J and 3-! energy from 500 to 2403 J with a 3 ns square pulse. During the experiments, emphasis was given to the process of optical damage and to the effects of clean-gas control. A numerical model of the FOA generated by the Integrated Computer Engineering and Manufacturing code for Computational Fluid Dynamics (ICEMCFD) demonstrated that a flux within 1–5 l s-1 and a 180 s period is effectual to avoid contaminant sputtering to the optics. The presence of surface ‘mooning’ damage and surface spots located outside the clear aperture are induced by contaminants such as wire, silica gel and millimeter order fiber and metal.
Thermal stress can induce birefringence in a laser medium, which can cause depolarization of the laser. The depolarization effect will be very severe in a high-average-power laser. Because the depolarization will make the frequency doubling efficiency decline, it should be compensated. In this paper, the thermal characteristics of two kinds of materials are analyzed in respect of temperature, thermal deformation and thermal stress. The depolarization result from thermal stress was simulated. Depolarization on non-uniform pumping was also simulated, and the compensation method is discussed.
As our understanding of the environmental impact of fossil fuel based energy production increases, it is becoming clear that the world needs a new energy solution to meet the challenges of the future. A transformation is required in the energy market to meet the need for low carbon, sustainable, affordable generation matched with security of supply. In the short term, an increasing contribution from renewable sources may provide a solution in some locations. In the longer term, low carbon, sustainable solutions must be developed to meet base load energy demand, if the world is to avoid an ever increasing energy gap and the attendant political instabilities. Laser-driven inertial fusion energy (IFE) may offer such a solution.