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Phys Rev Lett. 2018 Feb 2;120(5):055001. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.120.055001.

Origins and Scaling of Hot-Electron Preheat in Ignition-Scale Direct-Drive Inertial Confinement Fusion Experiments.

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Laboratory for Laser Energetics, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14623, USA.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California 94550, USA.
U. S. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC 20375, USA.


Planar laser-plasma interaction (LPI) experiments at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) have allowed access for the first time to regimes of electron density scale length (∼500 to 700  μm), electron temperature (∼3 to 5 keV), and laser intensity (6 to 16×10^{14}  W/cm^{2}) that are relevant to direct-drive inertial confinement fusion ignition. Unlike in shorter-scale-length plasmas on OMEGA, scattered-light data on the NIF show that the near-quarter-critical LPI physics is dominated by stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) rather than by two-plasmon decay (TPD). This difference in regime is explained based on absolute SRS and TPD threshold considerations. SRS sidescatter tangential to density contours and other SRS mechanisms are observed. The fraction of laser energy converted to hot electrons is ∼0.7% to 2.9%, consistent with observed levels of SRS. The intensity threshold for hot-electron production is assessed, and the use of a Si ablator slightly increases this threshold from ∼4×10^{14} to ∼6×10^{14}  W/cm^{2}. These results have significant implications for mitigation of LPI hot-electron preheat in direct-drive ignition designs.

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