Fast neutron production from lithium converters and laser driven protons

M. Storm, S. Jiang, D. Wertepny, C. Orban, J. Morrison, C. Willis, E. McCary, P. Balencourt, J. Snyder, E. Chowdhury, W. Bang, E. Gaul, G. Dyer, T. Ditmire, R. R. Freeman, K. Akli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Experiments to generate neutrons from the 7Li(p,n)7Be reaction with 60 J, 180 fs laser pulses have been performed at the Texas Petawatt Laser Facility at the University of Texas at Austin. The protons were accelerated from the rear surface of a thin target membrane using the target-normal-sheath-acceleration mechanism. The neutrons were generated in nuclear reactions caused by the subsequent proton bombardment of a pure lithium foil of natural isotopic abundance. The neutron energy ranged up to 2.9 MeV. The total yield was estimated to be 1.6 × 107 neutrons per steradian. An extreme ultra-violet light camera, used to image the target rear surface, correlated variations in the proton yield and peak energy to target rear surface ablation. Calculations using the hydrodynamics code FLASH indicated that the ablation resulted from a laser pre-pulse of prolonged intensity. The ablation severely limited the proton acceleration and neutron yield.

Original languageEnglish
Article number053106
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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