Proton radiography of intense-laser-irradiated wire-attached cone targets

IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science 39 (2011) 2822-2823

T Yabuuchi, H Sawada, T Bartal, D Batani, LA Gizzi, MH Key, AJ MacKinnon, HS McLean, PA Norreys, PK Patel, RB Stephens, C Spindloe, W Theobald, MS Wei, FN Beg

Measurements of extreme electrostatic and magnetic fields are of interest for the study of high-energy-density plasmas. Results of proton deflectometry of cone-wire targets that are of interest to fast-ignition inertial confinement fusion are presented. © 2006 IEEE.

The zero vector potential mechanism of attosecond absorption

Physics of Plasmas 18 (2011)

T Baeva, S Gordienko, APL Robinson, PA Norreys

A new mechanism for the absorption of energy during the interaction between an ultra-intense laser pulse and a sharp-edged overdense plasma, which we term the zero vector potential (ZVP) mechanism, is presented. The ZVP-mechanism is a nonponderomotive absorption mechanism that should dominate in the interaction of very strong short laser pulses (a 0≫1) with overdense plasmas in the case of sharp density gradients. In the ZVP-mechanism the existence of moving zeroes in the vector potential of the relativistic skin layer is crucial to the generation of both fast electron bunches and coherent x-rays. We demonstrate that the laser energy is absorbed from the plasma on the attosecond timescale in the form of electron bunches with unprecedentedly short duration. The numerical simulations are able to validate all qualitative and quantitative aspects of the ZVP-mechanism. © 2011 American Institute of Physics.

Studying ignition schemes on European laser facilities

Nuclear Fusion 51 (2011)

S Jacquemot, F Amiranoff, SD Baton, JC Chanteloup, C Labaune, M Koenig, DT Michel, F Perez, HP Schlenvoigt, B Canaud, C Cherfils Clérouin, G Debras, S Depierreux, J Ebrardt, D Juraszek, S Lafitte, P Loiseau, JL Miquel, F Philippe, C Rousseaux, N Blanchot, CB Edwards, P Norreys, S Atzeni, A Schiavi, J Breil, JL Feugeas, L Hallo, M Lafon, X Ribeyre, JJ Santos, G Schurtz, V Tikhonchuk, A Debayle, JJ Honrubia, M Temporal, D Batani, JR Davies, F Fiuza, RA Fonseca, LO Silva, LA Gizzi, P Koester, L Labate, J Badziak, O Klimo

Demonstrating ignition and net energy gain in the near future on MJ-class laser facilities will be a major step towards determining the feasibility of Inertial Fusion Energy (IFE), in Europe as in the United States. The current status of the French Laser MégaJoule (LMJ) programme, from the laser facility construction to the indirectly driven central ignition target design, is presented, as well as validating experimental campaigns, conducted, as part of this programme, on various laser facilities. However, the viability of the IFE approach strongly depends on our ability to address the salient questions related to efficiency of the target design and laser driver performances. In the overall framework of the European HiPER project, two alternative schemes both relying on decoupling target compression and fuel heating - fast ignition (FI) and shock ignition (SI) - are currently considered. After a brief presentation of the HiPER project's objectives, FI and SI target designs are discussed. Theoretical analysis and 2D simulations will help to understand the unresolved key issues of the two schemes. Finally, the on-going European experimental effort to demonstrate their viability on currently operated laser facilities is described. © 2011 IAEA, Vienna.

High resolution X-ray spectroscopy in fast electron transport studies

Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering 8080 (2011)

P Koester, NA Booth, CA Cecchetti, H Chen, RG Evans, G Gregori, LL Labate, T Levato, B Li, M Makita, JP Mithen, CD Murphy, MM Notley, RP Pattathil, DR Riley, NC Woolsey, LA Gizzia

A detailed knowledge of the physical phenomena underlying the generation and the transport of fast electrons generated in high-intensity laser-matter interactions is of fundamental importance for the fast ignition scheme for inertial confinement fusion. Here we report on an experiment carried out with the VULCAN Petawatt beam and aimed at investigating the role of collisional return currents in the dynamics of the fast electron beam. To that scope, in the experiment counter-propagating electron beams were generated by double-sided irradiation of layered target foils containing a Ti layer. The experimental results were obtained for different time delays between the two laser beams as well as for single-sided irradiation of the target foils. The main diagnostics consisted of two bent mica crystal spectrometers placed at either side of the target foil. High-resolution X-ray spectra of the Ti emission lines in the range from the Lyα to the Kα line were recorded. In addition, 2D X-ray images with spectral resolution were obtained by means of a novel diagnostic technique, the energy-encoded pin-hole camera, based on the use of a pin-hole array equipped with a CCD detector working in single-photon regime. The spectroscopic measurements suggest a higher target temperature for well-aligned laser beams and a precise timing between the two beams. The experimental results are presented and compared to simulation results. © 2011 SPIE.

In-situ determination of dispersion and resolving power in simultaneous multiple-angle XUV spectroscopy

Journal of Instrumentation 6 (2011)

U Zastrau, V Hilbert, CRD Brown, TD Döppner, SL Dziarzhytski, E Förster, H Glenzer, S Göde, G Gregori, M Harmand, DC Hochhaus, T Laarmann, J Lee, KH Meiwes-Broer, PB Neumayer, A Przystawik, P Radcliffe, MF Schulz, S Skruszewicz, F Tavella, J Tiggesbäumker, S Toleikis, TG White

We report on the simultaneous determination of non-linear dispersion functions and resolving power of three flat-field XUV grating spectrometers. A moderate-intense short-pulse infrared laser is focused onto technical aluminum which is commonly present as part of the experimental setup. In the XUV wavelength range of 10-19 nm, the spectrometers are calibrated using Al-Mg plasma emission lines. This cross-calibration is performed in-situ in the very same setup as the actual main experiment. The results are in excellent agreement with ray-tracing simulations. We show that our method allows for precise relative and absolute calibration of three different XUV spectrometers. © 2011 IOP Publishing Ltd and SISSA.

A Vlasov-Fokker-Planck code for high energy density physics


M Tzoufras, AR Bell, PA Norreys, FS Tsung

Extent of validity of the hydrodynamic description of ions in dense plasmas.

Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys 83 (2011) 015401-

JP Mithen, J Daligault, G Gregori

We show that the hydrodynamic description can be applied to modeling the ionic response in dense plasmas for a wide range of length scales that are experimentally accessible. Using numerical simulations for the Yukawa model, we find that the maximum wave number k(max) at which the hydrodynamic description applies is independent of the coupling strength, given by k(max)λ(s)≃0.43, where λ(s) is the ionic screening length. Our results show that the hydrodynamic description can be used for interpreting x-ray scattering data from fourth generation light sources and high power lasers. In addition, our investigation sheds new light on how the domain of validity of the hydrodynamic description depends on both the microscopic properties and the thermodynamic state of fluids in general.

The HiPER experimental road map

AIP Conference Proceedings 1209 (2010) 129-133

D Batani, S Baton, J Badziak, J Davies, L Gizzi, L Hallo, P Norreys, M Roth, J Santos, V Tickhoncuk, N Woolsey

WP10 is one of the working packages of the HiPER project and it has the goal of addressing, in a systematic and programmatic way, some of the key experimental uncertainties on the way towards fast ignition (and shock ignition) in a perspective of risk reduction, so to contribute to the definition of the basic characteristics of the HiPER project. The paper describes the key points contained in the short term HiPER experimental road map, as well as the results of two first experiments performed in "HiPER dedicated time slots" in European Laser Facilities. © 2010 American Institute of Physics.

Measurement of fast electrons spectra generated by interaction between solid target and peta watt laser

Journal of Physics: Conference Series 244 (2010)

T Tanimoto, H Habara, KA Tanaka, R Kodama, M Nakatsutsumi, KL Lancaster, JS Green, RHH Scott, M Sherlock, PA Norreys, RG Evans, MG Haines, S Kar, M Zepf, J King, T Ma, MS Wei, T Yabuuchi, FN Beg, MH Key, P Nilson, RB Stephens, H Azechi, K Nagai, T Norimatsu, K Takeda, J Valente, JR Davies

Fast electron energy spectra have been measured for a range of intensities between 1018 Wcm-2 and 1021 Wcm-2 and for different target materials using electron spectrometers. Several experimental campaigns were conducted on peta watt laser facilities at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and Osaka University. In these experimental campaigns, the pulse duration was varied from 0.5 ps to 5 ps. The laser incident angle was also changed from normal incidence to 40° in p-polarized. The results show a reduction from the ponderomotive scaling on fast electrons over 1020 Wcm-2. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.

The strength of single crystal copper under uniaxial shock compression at 100 GPa.

J Phys Condens Matter 22 (2010) 065404-

WJ Murphy, A Higginbotham, G Kimminau, B Barbrel, EM Bringa, J Hawreliak, R Kodama, M Koenig, W McBarron, MA Meyers, B Nagler, N Ozaki, N Park, B Remington, S Rothman, SM Vinko, T Whitcher, JS Wark

In situ x-ray diffraction has been used to measure the shear strain (and thus strength) of single crystal copper shocked to 100 GPa pressures at strain rates over two orders of magnitude higher than those achieved previously. For shocks in the [001] direction there is a significant associated shear strain, while shocks in the [111] direction give negligible shear strain. We infer, using molecular dynamics simulations and VISAR (standing for 'velocity interferometer system for any reflector') measurements, that the strength of the material increases dramatically (to approximately 1 GPa) for these extreme strain rates.

Ultrafast melting of carbon induced by intense proton beams

Physical Review Letters 105 (2010)

A Pelka, G Gregori, DO Gericke, J Vorberger, SH Glenzer, MM Günther, K Harres, RI Heathcote, AL Kritcher, NL Kugland, B Li, M Makita, JP Mithen, DJ Neely, C Niemann, A Otten, DR Riley, G Schaumann, MS Schollmeier, AN Tauschwitz, M Roth

Laser-produced proton beams have been used to achieve ultrafast volumetric heating of carbon samples at solid density. The isochoric melting of carbon was probed by a scattering of x rays from a secondary laser-produced plasma. From the scattering signal, we have deduced the fraction of the material that was melted by the inhomogeneous heating. The results are compared to different theoretical approaches for the equation of state which suggests modifications from standard models. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

Hot electron generation and transport using Kα emission

Journal of Physics: Conference Series 244 (2010)

KU Akli, RB Stephens, MH Key, T Bartal, FN Beg, S Chawla, CD Chen, R Fedosejevs, RR Freeman, H Friesen, E Giraldez, JS Green, DS Hey, DP Higginson, J Hund, LC Jarrott, GE Kemp, JA King, A Kryger, K Lancaster, S Lepape, A Link, T Ma, AJ MacKinnon, AG MacPhee, HS McLean, C Murphy, PA Norreys, V Ovchinnikov, PK Patel, Y Ping, H Sawada, D Schumacher, W Theobald, YY Tsui, LD Van Woerkom, MS Wei, B Westover, T Yabuuchi

We have conducted experiments on both the Vulcan and Titan laser facilities to study hot electron generation and transport in the context of fast ignition. Cu wires attached to Al cones were used to investigate the effect on coupling efficiency of plasma surround and the pre-formed plasma inside the cone. We found that with thin cones 15% of laser energy is coupled to the 40μm diameter wire emulating a 40μm fast ignition spot. Thick cone walls, simulating plasma in fast ignition, reduce coupling by x4. An increase of pre-pulse level inside the cone by a factor of 50 reduces coupling by a factor of 3. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Magnetic collimation of petawatt driven fast electron beam for prospective fast ignition studies

Journal of Physics: Conference Series 244 (2010)

S Kar, D Adams, M Borghesi, K Markey, B Ramakrishna, M Zepf, K Lancaster, P Norreys, APL Robinson, DC Carroll, P McKenna, M Quinn, X Yuan, C Bellei, J Schreiber

Collimated transport of fast electron beam through solid density matter is one of the key issues behind the success of the fast ignition scheme by means of which the required amount of ignition energy can be delivered to the hot spot region of the compressed fuel. Here we report on a hot electron beam collimation scheme in solids by tactfully using the strong magnetic fields generated by an electrical resistivity gradient according to Faraday's law. This was accomplished by appropriately fabricating the targets in such a way that the electron beam is directed to flow in a metal which is embedded in a much lower resistivity and atomic number metal. Experimental results showed guided transport of hot electron beam over hundreds of microns length inside solid density plasma, which were obtained from two experiments examining the scheme for petawatt laser driven hot electron beam while employing various target configurations. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Micron-scale fast electron filaments and recirculation determined from rear-side optical emission in high-intensity laser-solid interactions

New Journal of Physics 12 (2010)

C Bellei, SR Nagel, S Kar, A Henig, S Kneip, C Palmer, A Sävert, L Willingale, D Carroll, B Dromey, JS Green, K Markey, P Simpson, RJ Clarke, H Lowe, D Neely, C Spindloe, M Tolley, MC Kaluza, SPD Mangles, P McKenna, PA Norreys, J Schreiber, M Zepf, JR Davies, K Krushelnick, Z Najmudin

The transport of relativistic electrons generated in the interaction of petawatt class lasers with solid targets has been studied through measurements of the second harmonic optical emission from their rear surface. The high degree of polarization of the emission indicates that it is predominantly optical transition radiation (TR). A halo that surrounds the main region of emission is also polarized and is attributed to the effect of electron recirculation. The variation of the polarization state and intensity of radiation with the angle of observation indicates that the emission of TR is highly directional and provides evidence for the presence of μm-size filaments. A brief discussion on the possible causes of such a fine electron beam structure is given. © IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.

New developments in energy transfer and transport studies in relativistic laser-plasma interactions

Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion 52 (2010)

PA Norreys, JS Green, KL Lancaster, APL Robinson, RHH Scott, F Perez, H-P Schlenvoight, S Baton, S Hulin, B Vauzour, JJ Santos, DJ Adams, K Markey, B Ramakrishna, M Zepf, MN Quinn, XH Yuan, P McKenna, J Schreiber, JR Davies, DP Higginson, FN Beg, C Chen, T Ma, P Patel

Two critical issues related to the success of fast ignition inertial fusion have been vigorously investigated in a co-ordinated campaign in the European Union and the United States. These are the divergence of the fast electron beam generated in intense, PW laser-plasma interactions and the fast electron energy transport with the use of high intensity contrast ratio laser pulses. Proof is presented that resistivity gradient-induced magnetic fields can guide fast electrons over significant distances in (initially) cold metallic targets. Comparison of experiments undertaken in both France and the United States suggests that an important factor in obtaining efficient coupling into dense plasma is the irradiation with high intensity contrast ratio laser pulses, rather than the colour of the laser pulse itself. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Screening of ionic cores in partially ionized plasmas within linear response

Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics 81 (2010)

DO Gericke, J Vorberger, K Wünsch, G Gregori

We employ a pseudopotential approach to investigate the screening of ionic cores in partially ionized plasmas. Here, the effect of the tightly bound electrons is condensed into an effective potential between the (free) valence electrons and the ionic cores. Even for weak electron-ion coupling, the corresponding screening clouds show strong modifications from the Debye result for elements heavier than helium. Modifications of the theoretically predicted x-ray scattering signal and implications on measurements are discussed. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

Probing near-solid density plasmas using soft x-ray scattering

Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics 43 (2010)

S Toleikis, TH Bornath, TD Döppner, S Düsterer, RR Fäustlin, E Förster, C Fortmann, SH Glenzer, S Göde, G Gregori, R Irsig, T Laarmann, H Lee, B Li, KH Meiwes-Broer, JP Mithen, B Nagler, A Przystawik, P Radcliffe, H Redlin, RA Redmer, H Reinholz, G Röpke, F Tavella, RH Thiele, J Tiggesbäumker, I Uschmann, SM Vinko, TJ Whitcher, U Zastrau, B Ziaja, TH Tschentscher

X-ray scattering using highly brilliant x-ray free-electron laser (FEL) radiation provides new access to probe free-electron density, temperature and ionization in near-solid density plasmas. First experiments at the soft x-ray FEL FLASH at DESY, Hamburg, show the capabilities of this technique. The ultrashort FEL pulses in particular can probe equilibration phenomena occurring after excitation of the plasma using ultrashort optical laser pumping. We have investigated liquid hydrogen and find that the interaction of very intense soft x-ray FEL radiation alone heats the sample volume. As the plasma establishes, photons from the same pulse undergo scattering, thus probing the transient, warm dense matter state. We find a free-electron density of (2.6 ± 0.2) × 1020 cm-3 and an electron temperature of 14 ± 3.5 eV. In pump-probe experiments, using intense optical laser pulses to generate more extreme states of matter, this interaction of the probe pulse has to be considered in the interpretation of scattering data. In this paper, we present details of the experimental setup at FLASH and the diagnostic methods used to quantitatively analyse the data. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Creation of persistent, straight, 2 mm long laser driven channels in underdense plasmas

Physics of Plasmas 17 (2010)

G Sarri, KL Lancaster, RMGM Trines, EL Clark, SMR Hassan, J Jiang, N Kageiwa, NC Lopes, R Ramis, AU Rehman, X Ribeyre, C Russo, RHH Scott, T Tanimoto, M Temporal, M Borghesi, JR Davies, Z Najmudin, K Tanaka, M Tatarakis, PA Norreys

The experimental study of the behavior of deuterium plasma with densities between 2× 1018 and 2× 1020 cm-3, subjected to a 6 TW, 30 ps, 3× 1018 W cm-2 laser pulse, is presented. Conclusive experimental proof that a single straight channel is generated when the laser pulse interacts with the lowest densities is provided. This channel shows no small-scale longitudinal density modulations, extends up to 2 mm in length and persists for up to 150 ps after the peak of the interaction. Bifurcation of the channel after 1 mm propagation distance is observed for the first time. For higher density interactions, above the relativistic self-focusing threshold, bubblelike structures are observed to form at late times. These observations have implications for both laser wakefield accelerators and fast ignition inertial fusion studies. © 2010 American Institute of Physics.

Bragg diffraction using a 100 ps 17.5 keV x-ray backlighter and the Bragg diffraction imager


BR Maddox, H-S Park, J Hawreliak, A Elsholz, R Van Maren, BA Remington, A Comley, JS Wark

Design of the 10 PW OPCPA facility for the Vulcan laser

Lasers and Electro-Optics/Quantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference: 2010 Laser Science to Photonic Applications, CLEO/QELS 2010 (2010)

I Musgrave, O Chekhlov, J Collier, R Clarke, A Dunne, S Hancock, R Heathcote, C Hernandez-Gomez, M Galimberti, A Lyachev, P Matousek, D Neely, P Norreys, I Ross, Y Tang, T Winstone, G New

We present the progress made in developing IOPW OPCPA facility for the Vulcan laser to produce pulses with focused intensities >1023 Wcm-2. This power level will be delivered by generating pulses with >300J in 30fs. These pulses will be delivered to two target areas: in one target area they will be combined with the existing Vulcan Petawatt beamline and a new target area will be created for high intensity interactions. © 2010 Optical Society of America.