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Title: HOT ELECTRON SCALING AND ENERGY COUPLING IN NONLINEAR LASER PLASMA INTERACTIONS

Abstract

Energy conversion from high power lasers to energetic hot electrons is a fundamental phenomenon in laser-plasma interactions. At laser intensities above a few times 10^14 W/cm^2, nonlinear laser-plasma interactions lead to the generation of hot electrons with a broad energy distribution at typical temperatures of 10’s – 100’s kilo-electron-volt (keV). The fraction of laser energy transferred to hot electrons, their energy distribution and energy coupling efficiency to the targets are strongly affected by the laser intensity, wavelength and the plasma condition. Most investigations to date that are related to the fusion of high-energy-density laboratory plasmas (HEDLP) are carried out with relatively moderate laser intensity and lower laser wavelength to minimize hot electron generation, as electron preheating can degrade the fuel assembly. An alternative fusion scheme known as shock ignition (SI) has been proposed, requiring a high intensity spike pulse at the end of a fuel assembly phase to generate a strong shock to ignite the fuel. An initial shock pressure of 0.3 Gbar is required for ignition-scale targets using the SI scheme, requiring a relatively high on-target laser intensity of 5-10X10^15 W/cm^2 for the spike pulse. At such intensities, copious hot electrons can be produced by laser-plasma-instabilities (LPI), e.g., Stimulatedmore » Raman Scattering (SRS) and Two-Plasmon Decay (TPD). While very energetic electrons (>200 keV) could preheat the fuel, electrons with moderate energies may actually be beneficial for the SI scheme. Electrons in the 50-100 keV range can be stopped in the compressed high-density outer ablator layer leading to an increase in the ignitor shock strength and therefore enhancing overall efficiency in the SI scheme. Considering this importance of total energy and temperature of hot electrons, it is necessary to understand the LPI in the SI high intensity regime. Characterizing the hot electron source and energy coupling is key to investigating the viability of the SI concept. The overall goal of the HEDLP award was to perform a detailed study of the scaling of hot electron generation and energy coupling on high power laser systems, with intensity, wavelength, and target ablator material relevant to the nonlinear laser-plasma interaction at SI relevant conditions. This was a collaborative project between the Center for Energy Research at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and General Atomics. The experiment was performed at the Omega Laser Facility at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) in the University of Rochester. Specific objectives of the work were to: • understand the basic physics of laser-plasma interactions and instabilities at high laser intensities (up to 10^17 W/cm^2) and the effects of low-Z ablator materials and laser wavelengths (IR pulse at 1.054 µm versus UV pulse at 0.351 µm) and intensity scaling • fully characterize the resultant hot electron energy distribution • validate hot electron energy deposition via collisional and kinetic processes in the target and the induced shocks in support of electron-assisted SI concept.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of California, San Diego, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) (SC-24)
Contributing Org.:
General Atomics
OSTI Identifier:
1581765
Report Number(s):
NRG6612
DOE Contract Number:  
SC0014594
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; Shock ignition, fusion

Citation Formats

Beg, Farhat. HOT ELECTRON SCALING AND ENERGY COUPLING IN NONLINEAR LASER PLASMA INTERACTIONS. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. doi:10.2172/1581765.
Beg, Farhat. HOT ELECTRON SCALING AND ENERGY COUPLING IN NONLINEAR LASER PLASMA INTERACTIONS. United States. doi:10.2172/1581765.
Beg, Farhat. Thu . "HOT ELECTRON SCALING AND ENERGY COUPLING IN NONLINEAR LASER PLASMA INTERACTIONS". United States. doi:10.2172/1581765. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1581765.
@article{osti_1581765,
title = {HOT ELECTRON SCALING AND ENERGY COUPLING IN NONLINEAR LASER PLASMA INTERACTIONS},
author = {Beg, Farhat},
abstractNote = {Energy conversion from high power lasers to energetic hot electrons is a fundamental phenomenon in laser-plasma interactions. At laser intensities above a few times 10^14 W/cm^2, nonlinear laser-plasma interactions lead to the generation of hot electrons with a broad energy distribution at typical temperatures of 10’s – 100’s kilo-electron-volt (keV). The fraction of laser energy transferred to hot electrons, their energy distribution and energy coupling efficiency to the targets are strongly affected by the laser intensity, wavelength and the plasma condition. Most investigations to date that are related to the fusion of high-energy-density laboratory plasmas (HEDLP) are carried out with relatively moderate laser intensity and lower laser wavelength to minimize hot electron generation, as electron preheating can degrade the fuel assembly. An alternative fusion scheme known as shock ignition (SI) has been proposed, requiring a high intensity spike pulse at the end of a fuel assembly phase to generate a strong shock to ignite the fuel. An initial shock pressure of 0.3 Gbar is required for ignition-scale targets using the SI scheme, requiring a relatively high on-target laser intensity of 5-10X10^15 W/cm^2 for the spike pulse. At such intensities, copious hot electrons can be produced by laser-plasma-instabilities (LPI), e.g., Stimulated Raman Scattering (SRS) and Two-Plasmon Decay (TPD). While very energetic electrons (>200 keV) could preheat the fuel, electrons with moderate energies may actually be beneficial for the SI scheme. Electrons in the 50-100 keV range can be stopped in the compressed high-density outer ablator layer leading to an increase in the ignitor shock strength and therefore enhancing overall efficiency in the SI scheme. Considering this importance of total energy and temperature of hot electrons, it is necessary to understand the LPI in the SI high intensity regime. Characterizing the hot electron source and energy coupling is key to investigating the viability of the SI concept. The overall goal of the HEDLP award was to perform a detailed study of the scaling of hot electron generation and energy coupling on high power laser systems, with intensity, wavelength, and target ablator material relevant to the nonlinear laser-plasma interaction at SI relevant conditions. This was a collaborative project between the Center for Energy Research at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and General Atomics. The experiment was performed at the Omega Laser Facility at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) in the University of Rochester. Specific objectives of the work were to: • understand the basic physics of laser-plasma interactions and instabilities at high laser intensities (up to 10^17 W/cm^2) and the effects of low-Z ablator materials and laser wavelengths (IR pulse at 1.054 µm versus UV pulse at 0.351 µm) and intensity scaling • fully characterize the resultant hot electron energy distribution • validate hot electron energy deposition via collisional and kinetic processes in the target and the induced shocks in support of electron-assisted SI concept.},
doi = {10.2172/1581765},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2020},
month = {1}
}