Optimizing laser-accelerated ion beams for a collimated neutron source

Ellison, C. L.; Fuchs, J.
November 2010
Physics of Plasmas;Nov2010, Vol. 17 Issue 11, p113105
Academic Journal
High-flux neutrons for imaging and materials analysis applications have typically been provided by accelerator- and reactor-based neutron sources. A novel approach is to use ultraintense (>1018 W/cm2) lasers to generate picosecond, collimated neutrons from a dual target configuration. In this article, the production capabilities of the present and upcoming laser facilities are estimated while independently maximizing neutron yields and minimizing beam divergence. A Monte Carlo code calculates angular and energy distributions of neutrons generated by D-D fusion events occurring within a deuterated target for a given incident beam of D+ ions. Tailoring of the incident distribution via laser parameters and microlens focusing modifies the emerging neutrons. Projected neutron yields and distributions are compared to conventional sources, yielding comparable on-target fluxes per discharge, shorter time resolution, larger neutron energies, and greater collimation.


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