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Electron generation and transport in intense relativistic laser-plasma interactions relevant to fast ignition ICF


The reentrant cone approach to Fast Ignition, an advanced Inertial Confinement Fusion scheme, remains one of the most attractive because of the potential to efficiently collect and guide the laser light into the cone tip and direct energetic electrons into the high density core of the fuel. However, in the presence of a preformed plasma, the laser energy is largely absorbed before it can reach the cone tip. Full scale fast ignition laser systems are envisioned to have prepulses ranging between 100 mJ to 1 J. A few of the imperative issues facing fast ignition, then, are the conversion efficiency with which the laser light is converted to hot electrons, the subsequent transport characteristics of those electrons, and requirements for maximum allowable prepulse this may put on the laser system. This dissertation examines the laser- to-fast electron conversion efficiency scaling with prepulse for cone-guided fast ignition. Work in developing an extreme ultraviolet imager diagnostic for the temperature measurements of electron-heated targets, as well as the validation of the use of a thin wire for simultaneous determination of electron number density and electron temperature will be discussed

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