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Oriented Nuclei in Laser-Produced Plasmas


Energetics of Oriented Nuclei in Laser-Produced Plasmas

Tech Area / Field

  • FUS-PLA/Plasma Physics/Fusion

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Malakhov Yu I

Leading Institute
Central Research Institute of Machine Building (TsNIIMash), Russia, Moscow reg., Korolev

Supporting institutes

  • Institute of Strategic Stability, Russia, Moscow\nKurchatov Research Center / Institute of Nuclear Fusion, Russia, Moscow\nFIAN Lebedev / Quantum Radiophysics Department of the Lebedev Physical Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia, Moscow


  • Osaka University / Institute of Laser Engineering, Japan, Osaka\nLawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA, CA, Berkeley\nNational Institute for Fusion Science, Japan, Gifu-ken\nUniversity of Central Florida / Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers / School of Optics, USA, FL, Orlando\nUniversidad Politecnica de Madrid / Instituto de Fusion Nuclear, Spain, Madrid

Project summary

Development of the laser technology has opened fundamentally new opportunities for realization of unique physical parameters and experimental investigation of matter behavior under extreme conditions. These opportunities are, first of all, due to advent of powerful (1012–1015 W) high-intensity (1017 W/cm2 – 1021 W/cm2) lasers with pulse duration within a picosecond (10-12 sec – 10-14 sec). Plasma produced by action of such a radiation on a matter is a source of a powerful electron beams with energy up to 100 MeV, as well as electromagnetic radiation over a wide range from microwaves to hard X-rays including annihilation radiation of electron-positron pairs, beams of heavy charged particles and neutrons arising from nuclear processes. In such kind of plasmas, superstrong (>10 MG) magnetic fields have been generated with their attendant huge pressures of 108 atm.

Study of collective atomic and nuclear processes directed to the development of new power technology by using of the unique properties of laser-produced superdense plasmas show especially wide opportunities and prospects. The project proposed is just meant to solve certain of the wide range of associated problems.

The project objectives are:

– creation of a theoretical model of the collective power processes involving nuclei spin-oriented in laser-produced plasma magnetic fields;

– development of new power technology issues based on use of spin-oriented thermonuclear fuel.

The project contemplates both theoretical and experimental investigation.

The theoretical approach is based on the model of self-activated atomic and nuclear processes in laser plasma produced by action of laser radiation with the intensity of >1017 W/cm2 on a solid target at pulse duration of <10-12 sec. The model basics were developed under the framework of ISTC Project #856 “Electromagnetic stimulation of collective and nuclear processes in laser-produced plasmas".

The model is based on the effectiveness and governing influence of superstrong magnetic fields induced in laser plasmas on the atomic and nuclear processes. The high efficiency of this influence is conditioned by the collective nature of the atomic and nuclear processes resulting in magnetic fields structure being self-consistent with the atomic structure. Here we mean the consistency, well-known in electrical engineering, between an output resistance of an energy source – a magnetic field vortical structure and a load, i.e. atoms which form a matter structure. In this case the power delivered from the source to the load is maximum. It provides high efficiency of transformation of the magnetic fields induced in plasma to atoms and nuclei. Formally, the mentioned processes can be represented through a self-consistent formalism, from which immediately follows its non-linear resonance nature. The main process which goes at all stages and scales of laser plasma evolution, i.e. in skin-layer and nucleus, is the electromagnetic collapse which owes its origin to the governing role of magnetic interactions. The laser-produced plasma should be considered as a quantum relativistic object. Development of the model proposed under ISTC Project 856 allowed us to explore characteristic properties of a- and b-decay in superstrong magnetic fields. Development of toroidal vortical structures with superstrong magnetic fields and correspondingly high pressures (>108 atm) in laser plasmas was demonstrated to create favorable conditions for nuclear fusion with energy release.

It is necessary to develop the theoretical model of the atomic and nuclear processes in laser-produced plasmas at all space-time scales taking into account the high energy level of magnetic interaction which plays determining role in the collective spin-oriented process evolution.

In this connection, exploration of the role played by spin of the particles – participants of the processes under consideration – occupies a significant place in the project proposed. The potential energy operator is substituted with the interaction operator. The latter is determined by a probability current for electrons (and positrons) and by a vector potential. A probability current in the quantum mechanics depends on a particles spin characteristic. Thus spin defines the pattern of interaction as well as parameters of the collective processes at all stage of plasma evolution – from skin layer to nucleus.

It is supposed to apply, in combination with the quantum approach, and further develop the Lyapunov stability methods. It is due to nonlinearity and collective nature of all the processes under consideration. All kinds of nuclear decay are taken as instabilities, and nuclear fusion – as a tunneling process which comes to nuclear structure (mass) defect and corresponding energy release.

Analysis of fusion reactions at superdense laser plasma conditions is of considerable interest due to a number of specific outstanding properties of plasmas of the kind. Besides the superstrong magnetic field generation, to these unique properties may be attributed the high temperatures and densities of ions, as well as fast particles generation. Among the promising fusion reactions in superdense laser plasmas, the neutronless reactions can be noted. Realization of such type of reactions under magnetic confinement conditions is problematic due to large radiation losses and high temperatures of these reactions ignition (50-100 KeV). In superdense plasmas, the specified temperatures are easy-to-attain at the intensity of 1018 – 1019 W/cm2.

Besides "pure" neutronless fusion reactions adequate for certain orientation of nuclear spin, the project involves investigation of spin-oriented thermonuclear fuel in which nuclear reaction cross-sections notably increase (by ~ 50%). Under conditions of plasmas with magnetic confinement realization of the spin orientation idea is quite difficult. In superdense plasma conditions the idea seems to be realizable for the evolution of such a plasma is accompanied by generation of superstrong magnetic fields which, when transformed to nuclear scales, go as high as 1010 – 1012 G and become capable to implement spin orientation of nuclei.

The unified approach and interdependence of all the processes in laser-produced plasmas giving rise to atomic and nuclear transformations makes it possible, in the final analysis, to control these processes manipulating parameters of laser radiation which creates the plasma. Hence follows the conceptual possibility of power processes optimization in laser plasmas. Realization of such a possibility will allow the development of fundamentally new power technology basicals.

The project experimental investigations are planned to carry out at the terawatt laser facility (pulse duration ~ 10-12 сек) at the intensity higher than threshold (>1017 W/cm2) for self-activated atomic and nuclear processes. The existing laser facility is equipped with diagnostic tools which were specially developed and manufactured with the participation of specialists from Russian leading nuclear centers and designed for investigation of laser plasma atomic and nuclear processes. We plan modest modernization of the set-up to bring the intensity to 1019 W/cm2, with the control of all requirements to radiation quality, first of all, the main pulse contrast against prepulses in the time intervals of prepulse existence from micro- to picoseconds. To measure the main pulse contrast against prepulses in the time interval of prepulse existence (from 1 to 100 picoseconds), the newly-developed method for ultrashort pulse contrast measurement based on chirped pulse spectral interferometry will be used.

Laser plasma diagnostics under the project involves monitoring of nuclear-nature radiations as well as analysis of their spectral and polarization characteristics. The polarization characteristics, specifically, neutron angular distribution will be used to determine the nuclei orientation degree.

To keep record of the stated characteristic, we suppose modernization of certain spectrometric methods with scintillation detectors based on organic and inorganic crystals, semiconducting detectors, hydrogen and helium proportional counters as well as multisphere neutron spectrometer. We also suppose detection of a-, b- and g-radiation, neutrons, fast electrons and ions. To detect heavy particles (a-particles, protons, ions), detectors based on surface-barrier semiconducting diodes as well as track detectors will be used. With the modernized spectrometric methods it will be possible to determine energy spectrum of neutrons over the energy range from thermal energy up to 20 MeV, that of g-radiation over the range from 0.05 to 15-20 MeV and that of charged particles – between 0.05 and 5 MeV.

Monitoring of laser radiation parameters will be performed with a computer-controlled experimental data acqusition system.

The competence of the project participants is based on the wealth of experience accumulated during their previous work in the area of atomic and nuclear processes in laser-produced plasmas, including involvement in ISTC projects.

TSNIIMASH has available experimental base sufficient to provide realization of the project goals, as well as specialists having experience of work under ISTC Project #856.

ISS personnel consists of the leading specialists in the field of nuclear physics.

FIAN has got wide experience in modeling laser plasma nuclear processes.

SSR RF-IPPE has got wide experience in development of nuclear processes diagnostic methods and equipment.

NFI og RCC "Kurchatov's Institute" has got wide and comprehensive experience in atomic and nuclear physics, specifically, in the area of spin-oriented processes.

Expected results:

– development of a theoretical model for the collective power-production processes involving nuclei spin-oriented in laser plasma magnetic fields;

– analysis and optimization of the nuclear power processes with the use of spin-oriented nuclear fuel;
– analysis and optimization of superdense laser plasma parameters desired to provide nuclear fusion of promising and exotic thermonuclear fuels including pure – neutronless - ones;
– carrying out of experimental investigations of spectral, polarization and energy characteristics of radiations (a, b, g, n) resulting from the atomic and nuclear processes going in laser plasmas, specifically, nuclear fusion;
– working out and issue of recommendations as to development of new power technology based on theoretical and experimental investigation of spin-oriented nuclei in laser plasmas.

Application of the results expected is associated with the outlook for significant advance of the following science and technology areas:

– nuclear fusion under extreme conditions arising in self-activated collective atomic and nuclear processes going in superdense laser plasmas;

– nuclear fusion of new thermonuclear fuels, specifically, promising and exotic neutronless ones;
– development of a power technology which would gain benefit from spin-oriented thermonuclear fuel as well as the extreme parameters emerging in superdense laser plasmas.

The project meets ISTC goals and objectives, viz:

– scientists who have been involved in the development of military-purpose rocket and space technology and nuclear weapons will be presented with a possibility to re-direct their experience and effort to solving fundamental scientific problems of civil purpose.

– these scientists will get an additional opportunity of being integrated into the world scientific community via research results exchange, participating international conferences, as well as holding workshops involving specialists of leading foreign research centers.
– support will be lent to basic research and development of fundamentally new environmentally friendly power production technology.

The role of foreign collaborators means establishment of contacts between the project performers and foreign institutes and scientists having interests in this investigation area, comparison of the project results with those obtained in foreign institutes, arrangement of verification and confirmation of the presence of effects discovered and serviceability of models proposed using experimental facilities of foreign institutes and, in the end, organization of further study under the framework of joint projects and programs.

Technical approach and methodology of the project involves development of up-to-date theoretical and experimental methods for investigation of spin-oriented processes going in superdense relativistic metallized laser plasmas. The theory of these processes will start from quantum relativistic consideration of the nonlinear system stability theory. The experimental investigation contemplates exploitation of the laser facility which provides radiation intensity of up to 1019 W/cm2 at a desired contrast and is aided with specially-modernized methods and equipment for laser radiation and nuclear processes diagnostics.