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Laser Development for Laser Fusion Applications

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Research progress rept. Apr-Sep 78

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The HF laser is an attractive candidate driver for a large-system ICF scientific demonstration facility, for an ICF experimental power reactor and for a commercial laser fusion power reactor. Its proven high electrical efficiency offers a relatively low capital cost and high reliability, and staging of multimegajoule systems is felt to be possible. Also, its overall efficiency is high enough and its projected capital cost is low enough to make it look attractive from a cost of electricity point of view if laser energy to thermonuclear energy gains of a few 100 can be realized. The near term goal of the HF laser program is to develop a technology and engineering data base so that a meaningful tradeoff analysis for the various candidate ICF advanced drivers can be made on a time scale consistent with DOE planning. Previous accomplishments of our program have included demonstrations of high efficiency and high energy capability, efficient energy extraction from HF amplifiers, good beam quality and focus ability, and short pulse generation and amplification. In this reporting period, beam quality has been determined to be near diffraction limited for a short pulsewidth 6 ns to 25 ns oscillator amplifier chain, suppression of amplified spontaneous emission has been demonstrated on an individual spectral line, high pressure characteristics have been determined for the Phoenix I amplifier, and detailed comparisons between the kinetic code and experiments have been made. Details of two major upcoming experiments are also included in this report. The first is energy extraction and beam quality measurements on the Phoenix I amplifier operating under saturated output power conditions. The second experiment, using a newly designed amplifier Phoenix II, is designed to demonstrate the concept of angular multiplexing a pulse width compression scheme.

Subject Categories:

  • Lasers and Masers
  • Fusion Devices (Thermonuclear)

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