COb2s laser refraction and heating effects in a magnetized plasma column



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Texas Tech University


Recent developments in the area of high intensity lasers have caused an increased interest among researchers in applying various new techniques to heating gaseous plasmas to thermonuclear ignition temperatures. Lasers should be ideally suited for such an application because of their ability to deposit large bursts of energy in extremely short time durations. The basic requirements are that the plasma be heated to temperatures of several hundred million degrees to overcome the Coulomb barrier through energetic collisions and be confined long enough to get a net energy gain from the fusion reactions. Two different approaches have been proposed to attain these conditions using lasers. One approach, inertial confinement, would use nanosecond or less duration laser pulses in the tens of kilojoules to irradiate a small pellet fabricated (for example) of solid deuterium-tritium.

The material would be vaporized be the focused laser and further heated by absorption of laser light in the blowoff material. Compression resulting from an implosion due to thermal pressure and the recoil from the plasma's expansion would heat the pellet. The plasma would be allowed to expand freely, thus giving rise to the term inertial confinement as only the inertia of the particles would determine the time scale.



Lasers, Plasma