Temporal optimization of neutron generation from the exploding deuterated methane jet of clusters subjected to an intense laser pulse

Haiyang Lu; Jiansheng Liu; Cheng Wang; Wentao Wang; Zili Zhou; Aihua Deng; Changquan Xia; Yi Xu; Yuxin Leng; Guoquan Ni; Ruxin Li; Zhizhan Xu
August 2009
Physics of Plasmas;Aug2009, Vol. 16 Issue 8, p083107
Academic Journal
An experimental investigation on the interaction of an ultraintense femtosecond laser pulse at the intensity of 2×1017 W/cm2 (60 fs, 120 mJ at 800 nm) with clusters in a supersonic jet of deuterated methane gas has shown the generation of energetic deuterons and nuclear fusion events. The deuteron density and the average size of the clusters in the gas jet, as well as the fusion neutron yields under different backing pressures were measured simultaneously as a function of the time delays of the laser pulses with respect to the puffing of the gas jet. The results demonstrate that during the development of the gas jet expanding through a conical nozzle, the clusters grew up with time, and the average size of the clusters reached the maximum when the molecular density in the jet started to drop. The fusion neutron yields were found to increase with the larger average cluster size and the higher deuteron density, in accordance with the theoretical prediction. Experimental data indicate the existence of a ∼1 ms steady region in which the fusion neutron yields have reached the maximum of 2.0×105 per shot at the backing pressure of 74 bars. Consequently, an efficiency of 1.6×106 neutrons per joule of incident laser energy was realized.


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