Impact of Two-Micron Laser Wavelength on High-Energy-Density Applications and Diagnostics

Andreas Kemp | 22-FS-018

Project Overview

High-peak-power ( > 100 TW), short-pulse ( < 10 ps) lasers operating near 1μm wavelength now provide bright particle and photon sources for a myriad of applications, from proton deflectometry to flash radiography. While useful, the utility of these lasers as particle and light sources is limited by their low average power. A laser technology has been proposed, based on Tm:YLF, that has the potential to dramatically increase the high average power by 1000 fold, which would allow laser sources to compete with conventional particle accelerators for a whole new class of applications requiring high average power, like static radiography and medical applications. However, this advantage comes at the cost of producing laser light closer to 2μm, as opposed to the usual 1μm light used now. We compare and contrast the performance of sample high energy density science (HEDS) applications for both wavelengths and consider the impact this switch to longer wavelength would have on existing and future applications.

Mission Impact

High-peak-power, short-pulse lasers are used as drivers for several mission-relevant HEDS applications and diagnostics. For example, they provide a bright source of x-rays for imaging dense HEDS plasma, a bright high-resolution MeV proton source for imaging complex E and B fields present in dynamic plasmas, and potentially a large current of relativistic electron beams for advanced inertial-confinement-fusion schemes.

Publications, Presentations, and Patents

Wilks, S. et al. 2021. "Impact of Moving to 2 Micron Laser Wavelengths on High Energy Density Science Applications." Presentation, 63rd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics, 66, Pittsburgh November 2021. LLNL-PRES-828636.

Wilks, S. C. "The Long and the Short of It: How Advances in Short Pulse Laser Technology Influence our Understanding of Laser Plasma Interactions in HED Physics." Presentation, Institute of Laser Engineering at Osaka University & High Energy Density Science Center Seminar, Livermore, CA. June 2022, LLNL-PRES-834737.