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Characterizing laser-plasma ion accelerators driving an intense neutron beam via nuclear signatures

Favalli, A.; Guler, N.; Henzlova, D.; Croft, S.; Falk, K.ORC; Gautier, D. C.; Ianakiev, K. D.; Iliev, M.; Palaniyappan, S.; Roth, M.; Fernandez, J. C.; Swinhoe, M. T.
Compact, bright neutron sources are opening up several emerging applications including detection of nuclear materials for national security applications. At Los Alamos National Laboratory, we have used a short-pulse laser to accelerate deuterons in the relativistic transparency regime. these deuterons impinge on a beryllium converter to generate neutrons. During the initial experiments where these neutrons were used for active interrogation of uranium and plutonium, we observed β-delayed neutron production from decay of 9Li, formed by the high-energy deuteron bombardment of the beryllium converter. Analysis of the delayed neutrons provides novel evidence of the divergence of the highest energy portion of the deuterons (i.e., above 10 MeV/nucleon) from the laser axis, a documented feature of the breakout afterburner laser-plasma ion acceleration mechanism. these delayed neutrons form the basis of non-intrusive diagnostics for determining the features of deuteron acceleration as well as monitoring neutron production for the next generation of laser-driven neutron sources.

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Permalink: https://www.hzdr.de/publications/Publ-30554
Publ.-Id: 30554