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ELI Beamlines Scientific Challenges Workshop

Plasma and High Energy Density Physics (RA5)

J. Limpouch
Czech Technical University in Prague Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering
Behov 7, 115 19 Prague 1, Czech Republic,

ELI Basic Distinctions

Focused intensities 10-1000 higher than present
Fundamentally new physics will be investigated Relativistic ion oscillations in laser field Relativistic electron temperatures thermal bremsstrahlung electron-positron pair creation Isochoric heating of dense matter to keV temperatures

Synergy of laser and secondary sources

Various combinations of laser pulses, x-ray sources and beams of accelerated particles will be used for plasma creation and diagnostics

Prerequisites for success

Strong European community of researchers
vast experience in experimental, theoretical and numerical studies of relativistic laser interactions with various targets

Long-time experience with large user facilities

including lasers, target chambers and diagnostics

Range of methods for diagnostics

active and passive optical, X-ray and particle methods

Research activity 5
RA5 Plasma and high energy density physics oriented to fundamental research
to acquire knowledge of studied systems and interactions

ELI will be user facility

impossible to predict all future research directions, but the compiled list of topics is meant as a guideline for interaction area specification

Applications of results of RA5

Optimization of secondary sources Future laser technology Novel fusion schemes Laboratory astrophysics Technological applications (e.g. accelerator technol.)

Selected topics of research

1. Nonlinear optics and laser interaction with underdense plasmas 2. Relativistic HED plasmas 3. Laser interactions with dense matter 4. Interactions with clusters and MLT 5. Warm dense matter 6. Testing of inertial fusion schemes (IFE)

1. NL optics of plasmas ..
The propagation of high-intensity, coherent, electromagnetic radiation in plasmas, and the resulting modifications of the plasma state Wakefield formation behind laser pulse important for electron acceleration

Proton projection image taken 20 ps after interaction of 35 fs Ti:Sapphire laser pulse of intensity 51019 W/cm2 with tenuous plasma of density ~ 1017 cm-3 formed in front of 0.9-m-thick mylar foil by laser prepulse. Small scale ~25-30 m structures are clearly depicted (M. Borghesi et al., Phys. Rev.Lett. 94 (2005), 195003)

1. NL optics of plasmas ..
Coherent radiation can scatter from and decay into collective plasma modes.
It can create radiation at new frequencies. The plasma oscillations may become self-organized, nonlinear, kinetic. Simple modes can be strongly influenced by nonlinear kinetic modes, such KEEN and KEIN waves. Relativistic electromagnetic solitons may be formed by fields trapped in prolate cavities in electron density.
Isolated soliton and soliton train after laser pulse (T. Esirkepov et. al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 89 (2002),275002)

The phase space of relativistic KEEN wave in Vlasov simulations of stimulated Raman scattering (A. Ghizzo et al., Phys.
Rev. E 74 (2006), 046407)

1. NL optics of plasmas ..
Intense ultrashort laser pulses may be amplified and compressed by seeded stimulated Raman or Brillouin scattering
plasma tolerates much higher laser intensity than any other medium

Experimental setup, seed (16 J) is amplified to 2.9 mJ by pump laser (82 mJ) and shortened from 550 fs to 90 fs
(J. Ren et al., Nature Physics 3 (2007), 732)

2. Relativistic HED plasma

ELI beamlines facility will be capable of heating plasma to relativistic temperatures 0.5 MeV
thermal bremsstrahlung photons have energy sufficient for creation of electron-positron pairs, plasma with positron density comparable to ion density will be created

Diagram of pair creation. Electron colliding with high Z ion emits photon that collides with another high Z ion and electronpositron pair is created

Electron and positron spectrum, when 1 ps pulse of intensity 1020 W/cm2 was incident on thick golden target (H. Chen
et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 12 (2009), 105001)

3. Solid targets
Complicated interaction of ELI with solid-density targets
radiation pressure ~ 10 Tbar and oscillating electron energy ~ 1 GeV Laser absorption, relativistic transparency, channel boring and ion acceleration will be investigated.

Laser absorption - linear circular polarization

linearly polarized light is absorbed by fast electrons, while 2 component of ponderomotive force is absent for circular polarization and laser energy goes (O. Klimo et al., Phys. Rev. ST-AB 11 (2008), 031301) to mainly to ions

Electron energy distributions (1D3V PIC) - interaction of relativistic (I = 1.51020 W/cm2) laser pulse with ultrathin (32 nm) overdense (ne = 2.11023 cm-3) carbon foil

3. Solid targets
Ion acceleration by circularly polarized laser
quasi-monoenergetic ion bunch in laser interactions with ultra-thin foils, all ion sorts accelerated to the same velocity, suited for ions heavier than protons, ion energy proportional to fluence (I) independent of , needed high contrast flat-top relativistic laser
(Left) Ion density (1D PIC) and ion velocity distribution at 28 (2D PIC) for flat-top laser beam (I = 1.51020 W/cm2) incident on 32 nm carbon foil (O. Klimo et al., op. cit) (Right) Experimental ion spectra, 45 fs Gaussian circularly polarized beam 51020 W/cm2 on 5.3 nm DLC (diamond-like carbon) foil (A. Henig et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 103 (2009), 245003)

3. Solid targets
Relativistic double sided plasma mirror via foil RPA (radiative pressure acceleration)
frequency upshift and compression of laser pulse

(Up) Conceptual scheme of doublesided plasma mirror (Right) Electric field of reflected driver pulse and reflected source pulse (T.Z. Esirkepov et al., European Phys. J. D 55 (2009), 457)

3. Solid targets
Hole boring and ion acceleration
circularly polarized relativistic laser pulse penetrates through the corona and simultaneously produces directed ion beam (results may be applied later e.g. at Hiper for ion fast ignition)

(Up left) Schematic structure of the piston and the electrostatic shock maintained by the radiation pressure (Up middle) Ion density at 190 /c. Ion angular (Up right) and energy (Right) distributions at 250 /c. Laser intensity 41022 W/cm2.
(N. Naumova et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 102 (2009), 025002)

4. Clusters, mass-limited targets

Atomic clusters - efficient absorbers of laser radiation
Coulomb explosion of clusters energetic ions, hard X-rays possible applications - table-top nuclear fusion, nuclear reactions,

Clusters used to create high energy density plasmas

that drive strong shocks (Mach >50) and radiative blast wave

Simultaneous subpicosecond time framed interferogram (a) and Schlieren image (b) of a radiative blast wave 24 ns after being launched into a medium of 6 nm Ar clusters by a 700 mJ, 750 fs laser pulse. (P.A. Norreys et al., Phys. Plasmas 16 (2009), 041002)

4. Clusters, mass-limited targets

Mass limited targets limit transverse spread of energy
Various types of MLT microdroplets, foil sections

Significant rise in laser energy transformation into fast protons with decreasing foil section surface
variable constant thickness RCF with hole surface


Magnetic spectrometer

10 5 0 0.01 0.1


Conversion (%)


10 1 0.1

Emax (MeV)


(Top) Set-up of experiment (a) max. proton energy for 2 m-thick Au targets of various surfaces (b) laser to proton energy conversion efficiency (for protons with energy >1.5 MeV) for the same targets, laser I2 ~1019 W/cm2m2, 350 fs, 45, focal 6 m



Surface (mm)

(S. Buffechoux et al. (J. 0.01 0.1 1 10 Psikal), submitted to Surface (mm) Phys. Rev Lett., 2009)

5. Warm dense matter

State of matter dense matter heated to electron kinetic energy comparable to potential energy
cores of large planets, ICF,

Warm dense matter produced at ELI either by laser or by secondary sources (e.g. proton beam)

(Left) XUV image of proton heating of 60 m-thick Al foil at D/r=1.5, converted to temperature. (Right) X-ray pinhole camera image of a laser irradiated Al hemisphere of thickness 15 m and r=180 m (R.A. Snavely et al., Phys. Plasmas 14 (2007), 092703)

6. Advanced fusion schemes

Physical issues of advanced fusion schemes addressed
ELI is not designed for
complex ICF experiments many aspects of fast ignition and of shock ignition can be tested
3D-hybrid-PIC simulation showing a continuous 1 GA beam of 1 MeV electrons with 120 keV transverse temperature injected into plasma with density rising exponentially from 2 to 100 g/cm3 after 1.2 ps
(J. Meyer-ter-Vehn et al., Plasma Phys. Control. Fusion 47 (2005), B807)

Applications, technology transfer

Plasma and high energy density physics at ELI will be oriented mainly to fundamental research Large application potential still exists
optimization of ELI secondary sources will be based on the fundamental physics of laser target interaction material science - ultrafast processes induced in material by laseraccelerated ion beam, ultrafast response of materials on neutrons and -rays probed by synchronized laser and X-ray pulses - vital for understanding the aging of construction materials of nuclear power plants intense and short positron pulses can be used in material analysis nuclear transmutation of long-lived radioactive isotopes into less radioactive or short-lived products will be studied for application in nuclear waste management ultraintense electric or magnetic lenses for accelerator technology

ELI Beamline facility opens new extremely rich horizons for plasma and high energy density physics ELI Beamlines facility will be user facility with experimental program dependent on user proposals, and it is impossible to foresee all research topics List of prospective research topics is intended for basic specifications of ELI interaction areas

Thank you for attention