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Proceedings Paper

Four-color beam smoothing irradiation system for laser-plasma interaction experiments at LLNL
Author(s): Deanna Marie Pennington; Mark A. Henesian; Russell B. Wilcox; Timothy L. Weiland; David Eimerl; Robert B. Ehrlich; Curt W. Laumann; John L. Miller
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Paper Abstract

A novel four-color beam smoothing scheme with a capability similar to that planned for the proposed National Ignition Facility has been deployed on the Nova laser, and has been successfully used for laser fusion experiments. Wavefront aberrations in high power laser systems produce nonuniformities in the energy distribution of the focal spot that can significantly degrade the coupling of energy into a fusion target, driving various plasma instabilities. The introduction of temporal and spatial incoherence over the face of the beam using techniques such as smoothing by spectral dispersion (SSD) can reduce these variations in the focal irradiance when averaged over a finite time interval. One of the limitations of beam smoothing techniques used to date with solid state laser systems has been the inability to efficiently frequency convert broadband pulses to the third harmonic (351 nm). To obtain high conversion efficiency, we developed a multiple frequency source that is spatially separated into four quadrants, each containing a different central frequency. Each quadrant is independently converted to the third harmonic in a four-segment Type I/Type II KDP crystal array with independent phase-matching for efficient frequency conversion. Up to 2.3 kJ of third harmonic light is generated in a 1 ns pulse, corresponding to up to 65% intrinsic conversion efficiency. SSD is implemented by adding limited frequency modulated bandwidth to each frequency component. This improves smoothing without significant impact on the frequency conversion process. The measured far field irradiance shows 25% rms intensity variation with four colors alone, and is calculated to reach this level within 3 ps. Smoothing by spectral dispersion is implemented during the spatial separation of the FM modulated beams to provide additional smoothing, reaching a 16% rms intensity variation level. Following activation the four-color system was successfully used to probe NIF-like plasmas, producing less than 1% SBS backscatter at greater than 2 multiplied by 1015 W/cm2. This paper discusses the detailed implementation and performance of the segmented four-color system on the Nova laser system.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 December 1995
PDF: 16 pages
Proc. SPIE 2633, Solid State Lasers for Application to Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF), (8 December 1995); doi: 10.1117/12.228255
Show Author Affiliations
Deanna Marie Pennington, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Mark A. Henesian, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Russell B. Wilcox, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Timothy L. Weiland, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
David Eimerl, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Robert B. Ehrlich, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Curt W. Laumann, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
John L. Miller, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2633:
Solid State Lasers for Application to Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF)

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