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Title: Neutron imaging with the short-pulse laser driven neutron source at the TRIDENT Laser Facility

Emerging approaches to short-pulse laser-driven neutron production offer a possible gateway to compact, low cost, and intense broad spectrum sources for a wide variety of applications. They are based on energetic ions, driven by an intense short-pulse laser, interacting with a converter material to produce neutrons via breakup and nuclear reactions. Recent experiments performed with the high-contrast laser at the Trident laser facility of Los Alamos National Laboratory have demonstrated a laser-driven ion acceleration mechanism operating in the regime of relativistic transparency, featuring a volumetric laser-plasma interaction. This mechanism is distinct from previously studied ones that accelerate ions at the laser-target surface. The Trident experiments produced an intense beam of deuterons with an energy distribution extending above 100 MeV. This deuteron beam, when directed at a beryllium converter, produces a forward-directed neutron beam with ~5x10 9 n/sr, in a single laser shot, primarily due to deuteron breakup. The neutron beam has a pulse duration on the order of a few nanoseconds with an energy distribution extending from a few hundreds of keV to almost 80 MeV. For the experiments on neutron-source spot-size measurements, our gated neutron imager was setup to select neutrons in the energy range of 2.5 to 35more » MeV. The spot size of neutron emission at the converter was measured by two different imaging techniques, using a knife-edge and a penumbral aperture, in two different experimental campaigns. The neutron-source spot size is measured ~1 mm for both experiments. The measurements and analysis reported here give a spatial characterization for this type of neutron source for the first time. In addition, the forward modeling performed provides an empirical estimate of the spatial characteristics of the deuteron ion-beam. Finally, these experimental observations, taken together, provide essential yet unique data to benchmark and verify theoretical work into the basic acceleration mechanism, which remains an ongoing challenge.« less
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  1. Spectral Sciences, Burlington, MA (United States); Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  3. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (ASCR), Prague (Czech Republic). Inst. of Physics, ELI-Beamlines
  4. Axis Communications AB, Lund (Sweden)
  5. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  6. Technische Univ. Darmstadt (Germany). Inst. fur Kernphysik
  7. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0021-8979
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Applied Physics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 120; Journal Issue: 15; Journal ID: ISSN 0021-8979
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program
Country of Publication:
United States
46 INSTRUMENTATION RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY; Neutrons; Neutron sources; Image sensors; Neutron imaging; Ion beams
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1329083