Influence of prepulse plasma formation on neutron production from the laser–target interaction

Davis, J.; Petrov, G. M.
August 2008
Physics of Plasmas;Aug2008, Vol. 15 Issue 8, p083107
Academic Journal
The interaction of an intense ultrashort pulse laser with a planar uniform target was studied with a two-dimensional relativistic electromagnetic particle-in-cell method to determine the acceleration of deuterons and production of neutrons. A Au-CD2 double-layer planar target with thickness of ∼1 μm and a preplasma of variable length was used to generate high-energy deuterons as a precursor for neutron production. The deuteron energy and angular distributions and the neutron production from D(d,n)–3He nuclear fusion reactions were studied as a function of the preplasma scale length and target thickness. For very thin (submicron) targets the preplasma increases the neutron yield only marginally, but for realistic targets with thickness of a few microns the preplasma enhances the neutron yield by two orders of magnitude. Both the average deuteron energy and neutron yield peak at an optimum preplasma scale length Lpopt≈1/k0 (k0 laser wave vector), which is of the order of one inverse laser wave vector.


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