Description: Thomson scattering has been developed at the Nova laser facility as a direct and accurate diagnostic to characterize inertial confinement fusion plasmas. Flat disks coated with thin multilayers of gold and beryllium were with one laser beam to produce a two ion species plasma with a controlled amount of both species. Thomson scattering spectra from these plasmas showed two ion acoustic waves belonging to gold and beryllium. The phase velocities of the ion acoustic waves are shown to be a sensitive function of the relative concentrations of the two ion species and are in good agreement with theoretical calculations. These open geometry experiments further show that an accurate measurement of the ion temperature can be derived from the relative damping of the two ion acoustic waves. Subsequent Thomson scattering measurements from methane-filled, ignition-relevant hohlraums apply the theory for two ion species plasmas to obtain the electron and ion temperatures with high accuracy. The experimental data provide a benchmark for two-dimensional hydrodynamic simulations using LASNEX, which is presently in use to predict the performance of future megajoule laser driven hohlraums of the National Ignition Facility (NIF). The data are consistent with modeling using significantly inhibited heat transport at the peak of the drive. Applied to NIF targets, this flux limitation has little effect on x- ray production. The spatial distribution of x-rays is slightly modified but optimal symmetry can be re-established by small changes in power balance or pointing. Furthermore, we find that stagnating plasma regions on the hohlraum axis are well described by the calculations. This result implies that stagnation in gas-filled hohlraums occurs too late to directly affect the capsule implosion in ignition experiments.
Date: July 8, 1997
Creator: Glenzer, S.H.; Back, C.A. & Suter, L.J.
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