Publications associated with High Energy Density Physics and Inertial Fusion Energy
Nuclear Fusion 44 (2004) S185-S190
The first experiments on the National Ignition Facility (NIF) have employed the first four beams to measure propagation and laser backscattering losses in large ignition-size plasmas. Gas-filled targets between 2 and 7 mm length have been heated from one side by overlapping the focal spots of the four beams from one quad operated at 351 nm (3ω) with a total intensity of 2 × 1015 Wcm-2. The targets were filled with 1 atm of CO 2 producing up to 7 mm long homogeneously heated plasmas with densities of ne = 6 × 1020 cm-3 and temperatures of Te = 2 keV. The high energy in an NIF quad of beams of 16 kJ, illuminating the target from one direction, creates unique conditions for the study of laser-plasma interactions at scale lengths not previously accessible. The propagation through the large-scale plasma was measured with a gated x-ray imager that was filtered for 3.5 keV x-rays. These data indicate that the beams interact with the full length of this ignition-scale plasma during the last ∼1 ns of the experiment. During that time, the full aperture measurements of the stimulated Brillouin scattering and stimulated Raman scattering show scattering into the four focusing lenses of 3% for the smallest length (∼2 mm), increasing to 10-12% for ∼7mm. These results demonstrate the NIF experimental capabilities and further provide a benchmark for three-dimensional modelling of the laser-plasma interactions at ignition-size scale lengths.
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