Fusion Energy League

Bringing People And Nuclei Together

Can we save Laser Fusion?  Bay Area Event

Rezwan Razani - October 14, 2013

New Frontiers in Nonlinear, Statistical and Ultrafast Optics: Can We Save Laser Fusion?

Dr. Bedros Afeyan
Polymath Research Inc.
Pleasanton, CA

Tuesday October 15th 2013 at 8PM
Location: PARC 3333 Coyote Hill Road, Palo Alto, CA

Optional dinner with the speaker at 6:30 PM
Olive Garden, 2515 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA

Please RSVP to ncal [dot] osa [at] gmail.com if you plan on attending dinner so they have an approximate count


Starting with the first three patent applications for the laser concept 53 years ago, laser fusion has been evoked as the one unqualified great application of lasers to solve man’s quest for unlimited energy supply, to be, one day, too cheap to meter. We are not quite there yet despite 43 years of work in the laboratory. One major hurdle to overcome is coupling the energy of 100s or 1000s of kJ class lasers into a tiny cm scale plasma without wasting it as lost backscattered Raman or Brillouin light. Instead, nonlinear optics has to be exploited for proper heating and diagnosing of the plasma in space and time as is needed for thermonuclear fusion scenarios known as inertial confinement fusion (ICF) or for high energy density laboratory plasma (HEDLP) studies.

The interactions between hundreds or thousands of high average power laser beams, their resonant interactions with plasma excitations, their orchestration and control is a high challenge that requires all the flexibility and agility that can be mustered using Nonlinear, Statistical and Ultrafast Optics. One prime example of this is the concept of Spike Trains of Uneven Duration and Delay (STUD pulses) [1-4]. We will explain the promise of STUD pulses and point out where this work will lead in order to revolutionize laser fusion, ICF and HEDLP over the next few years. Sub-pssec scale engineering and diagnosing of laser profiles synchronized with neighboring lasers to interleave or overlap them as needed is a key to the success of such solutions. Adaptive control schemes using engineered temporal laser profiles have applications well beyond laser fusion and include ps chemistry, biology, imaging and micromachining, to name a few.

[1] http://arxiv.org/abs/1210.4462

[2] http://arxiv.org/abs/1210.4480

[3] http://arxiv.org/abs/1304.3960

[4] http://arxiv.org/abs/1304.4814