Smoothing May Improve Laser Fusion
Scientists at the University of Rochester in New York reported at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society's Division of Plasma Physics the results of their experiments with a beam control technique for inertial laser fusion tests. The technique, known as polarization smoothing, increased neutron yields by 70 percent at the university's 60-beam Omega laser facility and will be used at the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif.
Polarization smoothing splits each beam into two components and recombines the parts so that their irregularities interfere destructively. The researchers plan to combine polarization smoothing and a cryogenic treatment of the deuterium pellet targets to further increase neutron yields.
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