Journal of Fusion Energy

, Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 476–488

StarDriver: A Flexible Laser Driver for Inertial Confinement Fusion and High Energy Density Physics

  • David Eimerl
  • E. Michael Campbell
  • William F. Krupke
  • Jason Zweiback
  • W. L. Kruer
  • John Marozas
  • J. Zuegel
  • J. Myatt
  • J. Kelly
  • D. Froula
  • R. L. McCrory
Original Research

Abstract

We propose a novel method to minimize laser–plasma instabilities and improve laser–plasma coupling by the use of multi-beam laser architecture with a large system frequency bandwidth and many beamlets per unit solid angle. The StarDriver™, laser driver is constructed from 104 to 105 individual lasers, each delivering nominally 100 J in pulses of ~3–30 ns at a nominal wavelength of ~355 nm with better than 3–5 diffraction-limited performance. The beamlets are individually relatively narrowband to facilitate maximum laser performance, but the ensemble of beamlets span a wide frequency range. Currently available laser media enable Δω/ω ~ 2 % at 355 nm with the possibility of system bandwidths approaching 10 % in the future. The many beamlets of StarDriver™ provide optimal asymptotic smoothing for hydrodynamic instabilities (0–1 %), innovative focusing strategies including zooming, and the large bandwidth enables extremely rapid hydrodynamic smoothing times ~30 fs. The distribution of frequencies among the beamlets allows flexibility for fine control of the seeding of the Rayleigh–Taylor instability. The ultra-broad bandwidth combined with the large total k-spectrum of the laser drive in the plasma corona may enable complete suppression of the most problematic laser–plasma instabilities such as stimulated Brillouin backscatter, stimulated Raman scatter, cross-beam energy transfer, and the two plasmon decay instability. StarDriver™ offers potentially superior flexibility in laser drivers for inertial confinement fusion, enabling almost arbitrary sequencing of wavelength, polarization, focus, and fine control of the spatio-temporal properties of the drive in the corona. The highly modular strategy of StarDriver™ should enable an attractive development pathway as well as maximizing overall system efficiency.

Keywords

Inertial confinement fusion Inertial fusion energy Nuclear fusion Laser drivers Ultrabroad bandwidth High energy density physics StarDriver Instabilities 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Eimerl
    • 1
  • E. Michael Campbell
    • 2
  • William F. Krupke
    • 3
  • Jason Zweiback
    • 2
  • W. L. Kruer
    • 4
  • John Marozas
    • 5
  • J. Zuegel
    • 5
  • J. Myatt
    • 5
  • J. Kelly
    • 5
  • D. Froula
    • 5
  • R. L. McCrory
    • 5
  1. 1.Eimex, IncFairfieldUSA
  2. 2.Logos TechnologiesWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.WFK Lasers, LLCPleasantonUSA
  4. 4.LLNL (retired)LivermoreUSA
  5. 5.Laboratory for Laser EnergeticsUniversity of RochesterRochesterUSA

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