Publications associated with High Energy Density Physics and Inertial Fusion Energy
Nuclear Fusion 44 (2004)
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 × 10 Wcm. The targets were filled with 1 atm of CO producing up to 7 mm long homogeneously heated plasmas with densities of n = 6 × 10 cm and temperatures of T = 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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