Journal of Plasma Physics 79 (2013) 987-989
We present results from numerical simulations conducted to investigate a potential method for realizing the required fusion fuel heating in the fast ignition scheme to achieving inertial confinement fusion. A comparison will be made between collisionless and collisional particle-in-cell simulations of the relaxation of a non-thermal electron beam through the two-stream instability. The results presented demonstrate energy transfer to the plasma ion population from the laser-driven electron beam via the nonlinear wave-wave interaction associated with the two-stream instability. Evidence will also be provided for the effects of preferential damping of competing instabilities such as the Weibel mode found to be detrimental to the ion heating process. © Cambridge University Press 2013.
Physical Review Letters 110 (2013)
The sensitivity of inertial confinement fusion implosions, of the type performed on the National Ignition Facility (NIF), to low-mode flux asymmetries is investigated numerically. It is shown that large-amplitude, low-order mode shapes (Legendre polynomial P4), resulting from low-order flux asymmetries, cause spatial variations in capsule and fuel momentum that prevent the deuterium and tritium (DT) "ice" layer from being decelerated uniformly by the hot spot pressure. This reduces the transfer of implosion kinetic energy to internal energy of the central hot spot, thus reducing the neutron yield. Furthermore, synthetic gated x-ray images of the hot spot self-emission indicate that P4 shapes may be unquantifiable for DT layered capsules. Instead the positive P4 asymmetry "aliases" itself as an oblate P2 in the x-ray images. Correction of this apparent P2 distortion can further distort the implosion while creating a round x-ray image. Long wavelength asymmetries may be playing a significant role in the observed yield reduction of NIF DT implosions relative to detailed postshot two-dimensional simulations. © 2013 American Physical Society.
Impact of extended preplasma on energy coupling in kilojoule energy relativistic laser interaction with cone wire targets relevant to fast ignition
New Journal of Physics 15 (2013)
Cone-guided fast ignition laser fusion depends critically on details of the interaction of an intense laser pulse with the inside tip of a cone. Generation of relativistic electrons in the laser plasma interaction (LPI) with a gold cone and their subsequent transport into a copper wire have been studied using a kJ-class intense laser pulse, OMEGA EP (850 J, 10 ps). Weobserved that the laser-pulse-energy-normalized copper K signal from the Cu wire attached to the Au cone is significantly reduced (by a factor of 5) as compared to that from identical targets using the Titan laser (150 J, 0.7 ps) with 60 × less energy in the prepulse. We conclude that the decreased coupling is due to increased prepulse energy rather than 10 ps pulse duration, for which this effect has not been previously explored. The collisional particle-in-cell code PICLS demonstrates that the preformed plasma has a significant impact on generation of electrons and their transport. In particular, a longer scale length preplasma significantly reduces the energy coupling from the intense laser to the wire due to the larger offset distance between the relativistic critical density surface and the cone tip as well as a wider divergence of source electrons. We also observed that laser-driven plasma ionization increase in the LPI region can potentially alter the electron density profile during the laser interaction, forcing the electron source to be moved farther away from the cone tip which contributes to the reduction of energy coupling. © IOP Publishing and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.
EPJ Web of Conferences 59 (2013)
A collisionless Weibel-instability mediated shock in a self-generated magnetic field is studied using two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulation [Kato and Takabe, Astophys. J. Lett. 681, L93 (2008)]. It is predicted that the generation of the Weibel shock requires to use NIF-class high-power laser system. Collisionless electrostatic shocks are produced in counter-streaming plasmas using Gekko XII laser system [Kuramitsu et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 175002 (2011)]. A NIF facility time proposal is approved to study the formation of the collisionless Weibel shock. OMEGA and OMEGA EP experiments have been started to study the plasma conditions of counter-streaming plasmas required for the NIF experiment using Thomson scattering and to develop proton radiography diagnostics. © Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2013.
Fourier-transform inelastic X-ray scattering from time- and momentum-dependent phonon-phonon correlations
Nature Physics (2013)
The macroscopic characteristics of a material are determined by its elementary excitations, which dictate the response of the system to external stimuli. The spectrum of excitations is related to fluctuations in the density-density correlations and is typically measured through frequency-domain neutron or X-ray scattering. Time-domain measurements of these correlations could yield a more direct way to investigate the excitations of solids and their couplings both near to and far from equilibrium. Here we show that we can access large portions of the phonon dispersion of germanium by measuring the diffuse scattering from femtosecond X-ray free-electron laser pulses. A femtosecond optical laser pulse slightly quenches the vibrational frequencies, producing pairs of high-wavevector phonons with opposite momenta. These phonons manifest themselves as time-dependent coherences in the displacement correlations probed by the X-ray scattering. As the coherences are preferentially created in regions of strong electron-phonon coupling, the time-resolved approach is a natural spectroscopic tool for probing low-energy collective excitations in solids, and their microscopic interactions.
Simulation of laser-driven, ablated plasma flows in collisionless shock experiments on OMEGA and the NIF
High Energy Density Physics 9 (2013) 192-197
Experiments investigating the physics of interpenetrating, collisionless, ablated plasma flows have become an important area of research in the high-energy-density field. In order to evaluate the feasibility of designing experiments that will generate a collisionless shock mediated by the Weibel instability on the National Ignition Facility (NIF) laser, computer simulations using the Center for Radiative Shock Hydrodynamics (CRASH) radiation-hydrodynamics model have been carried out. This paper reports assessment of whether the experiment can reach the required scale size while maintaining the low interflow collisionality necessary for the collisionless shock to form. Comparison of simulation results with data from Omega experiments shows the ability of the CRASH code to model these ablated systems. The combined results indicate that experiments on the NIF are capable of reaching the regimes necessary for the formation of a collisionless shock in a laboratory experiment. © 2013.
EPJ Web of Conferences 59 (2013)
The FIREX-1 project, the goal of which is to demonstrate fuel heating up to 5 keV by fast ignition scheme, has been carried out since 2003 including construction and tuning of LFEX laser and integrated experiments. Implosion and heating experiment of Fast Ignition targets have been performed since 2009 with Gekko-XII and LFEX lasers. A deuterated polystyrene shell target was imploded with the 0.53- μm Gekko-XII, and the 1.053- μm beam of the LFEX laser was injected through a gold cone attached to the shell to generate hot electrons to heat the imploded fuel plasma. Pulse contrast ratio of the LFEX beam was significantly improved. Also a variety of plasma diagnostic instruments were developed to be compatible with harsh environment of intense hard x-rays (γ rays) and electromagnetic pulses due to the intense LFEX beam on the target. Large background signals around the DD neutron signal in time-of-flight record of neutron detector were found to consist of neutrons via (γ,n) reactions and scattered gamma rays. Enhanced neutron yield was confirmed by carefully eliminating such backgrounds. Neutron enhancement up to 3.5 × 107 was observed. Heating efficiency was estimated to be 10-20% assuming a uniform temperature rise model. © Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2013.
High Energy Density Physics 9 (2013) 172-177
The Flash Center is engaged in a collaboration to simulate laser driven experiments aimed at understanding the generation and amplification of cosmological magnetic fields using the FLASH code. In these experiments a laser illuminates a solid plastic or graphite target launching an asymmetric blast wave into a chamber which contains either Helium or Argon at millibar pressures. Induction coils placed several centimeters away from the target detect large scale magnetic fields on the order of tens to hundreds of Gauss. The time dependence of the magnetic field is consistent with generation via the Biermann battery mechanism near the blast wave. Attempts to perform simulations of these experiments using the FLASH code have uncovered previously unreported numerical difficulties in modeling the Biermann battery mechanism near shock waves which can lead to the production of large non-physical magnetic fields. We report on these difficulties and offer a potential solution. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
Diffusive shock acceleration at laser-driven shocks: Studying cosmic-ray accelerators in the laboratory
New Journal of Physics 15 (2013)
The non-thermal particle spectra responsible for the emission from many astrophysical systems are thought to originate from shocks via a first order Fermi process otherwise known as diffusive shock acceleration. The same mechanism is also widely believed to be responsible for the production of high energy cosmic rays. With the growing interest in collisionless shock physics in laser produced plasmas, the possibility of reproducing and detecting shock acceleration in controlled laboratory experiments should be considered. The various experimental constraints that must be satisfied are reviewed. It is demonstrated that several currently operating laser facilities may fulfil the necessary criteria to confirm the occurrence of diffusive shock acceleration of electrons at laser produced shocks. Successful reproduction of Fermi acceleration in the laboratory could open a range of possibilities, providing insight into the complex plasma processes that occur near astrophysical sources of cosmic rays. © IOP Publishing and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.
40th EPS Conference on Plasma Physics, EPS 2013 2 (2013) 850-853
New Journal of Physics 15 (2013)
This paper reviews the treatment of high-frequency Thomson scattering in the non-relativistic and near-relativistic regimes with the primary purpose of understanding the nature of the frequency redistribution correction to the differential cross-section. This correction is generally represented by a factor involving the ratio ω α /ω β of the scattered (α) to primary (β) frequencies of the radiation. In some formulae given in the literature, the ratio appears squared, in others it does not. In Compton scattering, the frequency change is generally understood to be due to the recoil of the particle as a result of energy and momentum conservation in the photon-electron system. In this case, the Klein-Nishina formula gives the redistribution factor as . In the case of scattering by a many-particle system, however, the frequency and momentum changes are no longer directly interdependent but depend also upon the properties of the medium, which are encoded in the dynamic structure factor. We show that the redistribution factor explicit in the quantum cross-section (that seen by a photon) is ω α /ω β, which is not squared. Formulae for the many-body cross-section given in the literature, in which the factor is squared, can often be attributed to a different (classical) definition of the cross-section, though not all authors are explicit about which definition they are using. What is shown not to be true is that the structure factor simply gives the ratio of the many-electron to one-electron differential cross-sections, as is sometimes supposed. Mixing up the cross-section definitions can lead to errors when describing x-ray scattering. We illustrate the nature of the discrepancy by deriving the energy-integrated angular distributions, with first-order relativistic corrections, for classical and quantum scattering measurements, as well as the radiative opacity for photon diffusion in a Thomson-scattering medium, which is generally considered to be governed by quantum processes. © IOP Publishing and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.
Physical Review Letters 109 (2012)
We have used the Linac Coherent Light Source to generate solid-density aluminum plasmas at temperatures of up to 180 eV. By varying the photon energy of the x rays that both create and probe the plasma, and observing the K-α fluorescence, we can directly measure the position of the K edge of the highly charged ions within the system. The results are found to disagree with the predictions of the extensively used Stewart-Pyatt model, but are consistent with the earlier model of Ecker and Kröll, which predicts significantly greater depression of the ionization potential. © 2012 American Physical Society.
Physical review letters 109 (2012) 015001-
This Letter describes the first experimental demonstration of the guiding of a relativistic electron beam in a solid target using two colinear, relativistically intense, picosecond laser pulses. The first pulse creates a magnetic field that guides the higher-current, fast-electron beam generated by the second pulse. The effects of intensity ratio, delay, total energy, and intrinsic prepulse are examined. Thermal and Kα imaging show reduced emission size, increased peak emission, and increased total emission at delays of 4-6 ps, an intensity ratio of 10∶1 (second:first) and a total energy of 186 J. In comparison to a single, high-contrast shot, the inferred fast-electron divergence is reduced by 2.7 times, while the fast-electron current density is increased by a factor of 1.8. The enhancements are reproduced with modeling and are shown to be due to the self-generation of magnetic fields. Such a scheme could be of considerable benefit to fast-ignition inertial fusion.
Journal of Instrumentation 7 (2012)
We have developed an easy-to-use and reliable timing tool to determine the arrival time of an optical laser and a free electron laser (FEL) pulses within the jitter limitation. This timing tool can be used from XUV to X-rays and exploits high FELs intensities. It uses a shadowgraph technique where we optically (at 800 nm) image a plasma created by an intense XUV or X-ray FEL pulse on a transparent sample (glass slide) directly placed at the pump - probe sample position. It is based on the physical principle that the optical properties of the material are drastically changed when its free electron density reaches the critical density. At this point the excited glass sample becomes opaque to the optical laser pulse. The ultra-short and intense XUV or X-ray FEL pulse ensures that a critical electron density can be reached via photoionization and subsequent collisional ionization within the XUV or X-ray FEL pulse duration or even faster. This technique allows to determine the relative arrival time between the optical laser and the FEL pulses in only few single shots with an accuracy mainly limited by the optical laser pulse duration and the jitter between the FEL and the optical laser. Considering the major interest in pump-probe experiments at FEL facilities in general, such a femtosecond resolution timing tool is of utmost importance. © 2012 IOP Publishing Ltd and Sissa Medialab srl.
Journal of Instrumentation 7 (2012)
Focal aberrations of large-aperture highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) crystals in von-Hàmos geometry are investigated by experimental and computational methods. A mosaic HOPG crystal film of 100 μm thickness diffracts 8 keV x-rays. This thickness is smaller than the absorption depth of the symmetric 004-reflection, which amounts to 257 μm. Cylindrically bent crystals with 110mm radius of curvature and up to 100 mm collection width produce a X-shaped halo around the focus. This feature vanishes when the collection aperture is reduced, but axial spectral profiles show that the resolution is not affected. X-ray topography reveals significant inhomogeneous crystallite domains of 2±1mm diameter along the entire crystal. Rocking curves shift by about ±20arcmin between domains, while their full width at half-maximum varies between 30 and 50 arcmin. These inhomogeneities are not imprinted at the focal spot, since the monochromatically reflecting area of the crystal is large compared to inhomogeneities. Ray-tracing calculations using a Monte-Carlo-based algorithm developed for mosaic crystals reproduce the X-shaped halo in the focal plane, stemming from the mosaic defocussing in the non-dispersive direction in combination with large apertures. The best achievable resolution is found by analyzing a diversity of rocking curve widths, source sizes and crystal thicknesses for 8 keV x-rays to be ΔE/E ∼ 10-4. Finally a general analytic expression for the shape of the aberration is derived. © 2012 IOP Publishing Ltd and Sissa Medialab srl.
Nature 482 (2012) 59-62
High Energy Density Physics 8 (2012) 76-80
We combine experiments and theoretical models to characterize warm dense deuterium. A shockwave was driven in a planar target by the OMEGA laser without a standard pusher making the analysis independent of a quartz or aluminium pressure standard. The conditions of the shocked material were diagnosed with VISAR and optical pyrometry which yields the shock velocity (16.9 ± 0.9 km/s) and the temperature (0.57 ± 0.05 eV). We find a self-consistent description of the data when using ab initio simulations (DFT-MD), but not for other equation of state (EOS) models tested. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
A study of fast electron energy transport in relativistically intense laser-plasma interactions with large density scalelengths
PHYSICS OF PLASMAS 19 (2012) ARTN 053104
High Energy Density Physics 8 (2012) 322-328
We report the results of benchmark FLASH magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations of experiments conducted by the University of Oxford High Energy Density Laboratory Astrophysics group and its collaborators at the Laboratoire pour l'Utilisation des Lasers Intenses (LULI). In these experiments, a long-pulse laser illuminates a target in a chamber filled with Argon gas, producing shock waves that generate magnetic fields via the Biermann battery mechanism. We first outline the implementation of 2D cylindrical geometry in the unsplit MHD solver in FLASH and present results of verification tests. We then describe the results of benchmark 2D cylindrical MHD simulations of the LULI experiments using FLASH that explore the impact of external fields along with the possibility of magnetic field amplification by turbulence that is associated with the shock waves and that is induced by a grid placed in the gas-filled chamber. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
Nature Physics (2012)