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Title: Laser-plasmas in the relativistic-transparency regime: science and applications

Laser-plasma interactions in the novel regime of relativistically induced transparency (RIT) have been harnessed to generate intense ion beams efficiently with average energies exceeding 10 MeV/nucleon (>100 MeV for protons) at “table-top” scales in experiments at the LANL Trident Laser. By further optimization of the laser and target, the RIT regime has been extended into a self-organized plasma mode. This mode yields an ion beam with much narrower energy spread while maintaining high ion energy and conversion efficiency. This mode involves self-generation of persistent high magnetic fields (~10 4 T, according to particle-in-cell simulations of the experiments) at the rear-side of the plasma. These magnetic fields trap the laser-heated multi-MeV electrons, which generate a high localized electrostatic field (~0.1 TV/m). After the laser exits the plasma, this electric field acts on a highly structured ion-beam distribution in phase space to reduce the energy spread, thus separating acceleration and energy-spread reduction. Thus, ion beams with narrow energy peaks at up to 18 MeV/nucleon are generated reproducibly with high efficiency (≈5%). The experimental demonstration has been done with 0.12 PW, high-contrast, 0.6 ps Gaussian 1.053 μm laser pulses irradiating planar foils up to 250 nm thick at 2–8 × 10 20 W/cmmore » 2. These ion beams with co-propagating electrons have been used on Trident for uniform volumetric isochoric heating to generate and study warm-dense matter at high densities. These beam plasmas have been directed also at a thick Ta disk to generate a directed, intense point-like Bremsstrahlung source of photons peaked at ~2 MeV and used it for point projection radiography of thick high density objects. In addition, prior work on the intense neutron beam driven by an intense deuterium beam generated in the RIT regime has been extended. Neutron spectral control by means of a flexible converter-disk design has been demonstrated, and the neutron beam has been used for point-projection imaging of thick objects. Finally, we discuss the plans and prospects for further improvements and applications.« less
Authors:
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  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Gwangju Inst. of Science and Technology, Gwangju (South Korea). Dept. of Physics and Photon Science
  3. Univ. of Texas, Austin, TX (United States). Dept. of Physics
  4. Institute for Nuclear Physics, Technical Univ. of Darmstadt
  5. Technical Univ. of Darmstadt (Germany). Inst. for Nuclear Physics
  6. Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (ASCR), Prague (Czech Republic). Inst. of Physics
  7. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Spectral Sciences, Inc., Burlington, MA (United States)
  8. Univ. of Rochester, NY (United States). Lab. for Laser Energetics; Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-17-22372
Journal ID: ISSN 1070-664X
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physics of Plasmas
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 24; Journal Issue: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 1070-664X
Publisher:
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
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; Ion beams; Neutrons; Gamma rays; Plasma temperature; Relativistic plasmas
OSTI Identifier:
1361486