Fusion Reactions in Laser Produced Plasma
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The investigation of fusion reactions in laser produced plasma has become of great interest since the development of ultra-short pulse lasers technique, which can enable the measurement of not well known fusion cross sections in plasmas and energy production via nuclear fusion reactions on a larger scale. Also, the direct measurement of fusion cross sections at low plasma temperatures might reveal some role for instance of electron screening. For all these reasons, the investigation of ion energy spectra to better understand the nuclear fusion process in a plasma plays a very important role. For a long period of time, however, only light elements such as Deuterium, Tritium, and 3^He have been studied for these applications because of the higher efficiency. In particular, the first generation fusion reactors built on Earth were based on the d-t system, in which the 80% of the fusion energy goes into the neutrons. Nevertheless, recent advances in this particular field of physics and the availability of high intensity laser facilities capable of delivering Petawatts of power into small volumes has opened the possibility to fuels based on neutron-less fusion reactions, like for example p-^11B. In this fusion reaction, energy is released mainly in charged alpha particles rather than neutrons, which makes easier the actual conversion and final utilization through various methods (i.e., induction or electrostatic effects). Such methods might be also of guidance for experiments where the plasma is highly compressed and heated such as at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (USA), and at the Omega facility at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) of the University of Rochester (USA).
Barbarino, Matteo (2015). Fusion Reactions in Laser Produced Plasma. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from