Publications associated with Laser Fusion and Extreme Field Science

Beamed neutron emission driven by laser accelerated light ions

New Journal of Physics IOP Publishing (2016)

P Norreys, S Kar, H Ahmed, A Green, A Alejo, APL Robinson, M Cerchez, R Clarke, D Doria, S Dorkings, SR Mirfayzi, K Naughton, P McKenna, D Neely, C Peth, H Powell, JA Ruiz, J Swain, O Willi, M Borghesi

Highly anisotropic, beam-like neutron emission with peak flux of the order of 109 n/sr was obtained from light nuclei reactions in a pitcher–catcher scenario, by employing MeV ions driven by a sub-petawatt laser. The spatial profile of the neutron beam, fully captured for the first time by employing a CR39 nuclear track detector, shows a FWHM divergence angle of $\sim 70^\circ $, with a peak flux nearly an order of magnitude higher than the isotropic component elsewhere. The observed beamed flux of neutrons is highly favourable for a wide range of applications, and indeed for further transport and moderation to thermal energies. A systematic study employing various combinations of pitcher–catcher materials indicates the dominant reactions being d(p, n+p)1H and d(d,n)3He. Albeit insufficient cross-section data are available for modelling, the observed anisotropy in the neutrons' spatial and spectral profiles is most likely related to the directionality and high energy of the projectile ions.

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