Univocal Discrimination of α Particles Produced by 11B(p, α)2α Fusions in Laser-Matter Experiments by Advanced Thomson SpectrometryRead the full article
Laser and Particle Beams is an open-access journal publishing original research and review articles covering basic physics issues of intense laser and particle beams, and the interaction of these beams with matter.
Chief Editor, Dr Katarzyna Batani, is based at the Institute of Plasma Physics and Laser Microfusion, Poland.
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Photon and Neutron Production as In Situ Diagnostics of Proton-Boron Fusion
Short-pulse, ultrahigh-intensity lasers have opened new regimes for studying fusion plasmas and creating novel ultrashort ion beams and neutron sources. Diagnosing the plasma in these experiments is important for optimizing the fusion yield but difficult due to the picosecond time scales, 10 s of micron-cubed volumes, and high densities. We propose to use the yields of photons and neutrons produced by parallel reactions involving the same reactants to diagnose the plasma conditions and predict the yields of specific reactions of interest. In this work, we focus on verifying the yield of the high-interest aneutronic proton-boron fusion reaction , which is difficult to measure directly due to the short stopping range of the produced in most materials. We identify promising photon-producing reactions for this purpose and compute the ratios of the photon yield to the yield as a function of plasma parameters. In beam-fusion experiments, the yield is an easily-measurable observable to verify the yield. In light of our results, improving and extending measurements of the cross-sections for these parallel reactions are important steps to gain greater control over these laser-driven fusion plasmas.
Study on Gain Regularity of High Power Microwave Obtained by Using Path Encoding Pulse Compression
This study is the further research of the path encoding pulse compression technique. In this study, the regularity of pulse compression gain is studied by adopting the numerical simulation and experiment measurement methods. For the lossless cavity, the power gain has the characteristic of equal pulse length with equal compression gain contribution according to the numerical simulation results. It means that the pulse compression gain is increased linearly along with the time length of the input pulse. The obtained pulse power gains are equal for the two subpulses intercepted arbitrarily form the input pulse with equal time length for the pulse compression. For the lossy cavity, the power gain usually does not increase significantly after the length of input pulse reaches to a certain value. The gain contribution decreases gradually along with the increase of time length of input pulse until the growth rate of gain contribution equals to zero. Assuming two subpulses with equal time length were intercepted from the input pulse, the gain contribution of the earlier subpulse is lower than that of the later subpulse. The measured results verified the simulated gain contribution regularity according to the established experimental system.
Oscillating Plasmas for Proton- Boron Fusion in Miniature Vacuum Discharge
Earlier, the experiments on the aneutronic proton-boron (pB) fusion in a miniature nanosecond vacuum discharge (NVD) with oscillatory plasma confinement and correspondent α particles yield were presented. In this work, we consider some specific features of oscillatory confinement as a relatively new type of plasma confinement for fusion. Particle-in-cell (PiC) simulations of pB fusion processes have shown that the plasma in NVD, and especially on the discharge axis, is in a state close to a quasineutral one, which is rather different from the conditions in the well-known scheme of periodically oscillating plasma spheres (POPSs) suggested earlier for fusion. Apparently, small-scale oscillations in NVD are a mechanism of resonant ion heating, unlike coherent compressions in the original POPS scheme. Nevertheless, the favorable scaling of the fusion power in NVD turns out to be close to the POPS fusion but differs significantly both in the compression ratio and in the values of the parameter of quasineutrality. In addition, unlike the POPS scheme, PiC simulation reveals that the distribution functions of protons and boron ions in NVD are non-Maxwellian. Therefore, we have an aneutronic pB synthesis in a nonequilibrium plasma remaining “nonignited” on the discharge axis.
A Methodology for the Discrimination of Alpha Particles from Other Ions in Laser-Driven Proton-Boron Reactions Using CR-39 Detectors Coupled in a Thomson Parabola Spectrometer
Solid-state nuclear track detectors (CR-39 type) are frequently used for the detection of ions accelerated by laser-plasma interaction because they are sensitive to each single particle. To the present day, CR-39 detectors are the main diagnostics in experiments focused on laser-driven proton-boron (p11B) fusion reactions to detect alpha particles, which are the main products of such a nuclear reaction, and to reconstruct their energy distribution. However, the acceleration of multispecies ions in the laser-generated plasma makes this spectroscopic method complex and often does not allow to unambiguously discriminate the alpha particles generated from p11B fusion events from the laser-driven ions. In this experimental work, performed at the PALS laser facility (600 J, 300 ps, laser intensity 1016 W/cm2), CR-39 detectors were used as main detectors for the angular distribution of the produced alpha particles during a p11B fusion dedicated experimental campaign. Additionally, a CR-39 detector was set inside a Thomson Parabola (TP) spectrometer with the aim to calibrate the CR-39 response for low energetic laser-driven ions originating from the plasma in the given experimental conditions. The detected ion energies were ranging from hundreds of keV to a few MeV, and the ion track diameters were measured for etching times up to 9 hours. The goal of the test was the evaluation of the detectors’ ability to discriminate the alpha particles from the aforementioned ions. Within this study, the calibration curves for protons and silicon low energy ions are accomplished, the overlapping of the proton tracks and alpha particles is verified, and a methodology to avoid this problem is realized.
Numerical Studies on Bow Waves in Intense Laser-Plasma Interaction
Laser-driven wakefield acceleration (LWFA) has attracted lots of attention in recent years. However, few writers have been able to make systematic research into the bow waves generated along with the wake waves. Research about the bow waves will help to improve the understanding about the motion of the electrons near the wake waves. In addition, the relativistic energetic electron density peaks have great potential in electron acceleration and reflecting flying mirrors. In this paper, the bow waves generated in laser-plasma interactions as well as the effects of different laser and plasma parameters are investigated. Multidimensional particle-in-cell simulations are made to present the wake waves and bow waves by showing the electron density and momentum distribution as well as the electric field along x and y directions. The evolution of the bow wave structure is investigated by measuring the open angle between the bow wave and the wake wave cavity. The angle as well as the peak electron density and transverse momentum is demonstrated with respect to different laser intensities, spot sizes, plasma densities, and preplasma lengths. The density peak emits high-order harmonics up to 150 orders and can be a new kind of “flying mirror” to generate higher order harmonics. The study on the bow waves is important for further investigation on the electron motion around the wake waves, generation of dense electron beams, generation of high-order harmonics, and other research and applications based on the bow waves.
Cross-Section Measurements of the 11B(p,α)2α Reaction near the First Resonant Energy
In preparation for an experiment with a laser-generated intense proton beam at the Laser Fusion Research Center at Mianyang to investigate the 11B(p,α)2α reaction, we performed a measurement at very low proton energy between 140 keV and 172 keV using the high-voltage platform at the Institute of Modern Physics, Lanzhou. The aim of the experiment was to test the ability to use CR-39 track detectors for cross-section measurements and to remeasure the cross-section of this reaction close to the first resonance using the thick target approach. We obtained the cross-section σ = 45.6 12.5 mb near 156 keV. Our result confirms the feasibility of CR-39 type track detector for nuclear reaction measurement also in low-energy regions.