A tabletop, ultrashort pulse photoneutron source driven by electrons from laser wakefield acceleration

X. J. Jiao, J. M. Shaw, T. Wang, X. M. Wang, H. Tsai, P. Poth, I. Pomerantz, L. A. Labun, T. Toncian, M. C. Downer, B. M. Hegelich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Relativistic electron beams driven by laser wakefield acceleration were utilized to produce ultrashort neutron sources. The experiment was carried out on the 38 fs, ∼0.5 J, 800 nm Ti:Sapphire laser in the 10 TW UT3 laser lab at University of Texas at Austin. The target gas was a high density pulsed gas jet composed of 90% He and 10% N2. The laser pulse with a peak intensity of 1.5 × 1018 W/cm2 interacted with the target to create a cylindrical plasma channel of 60 μm radius (FWHM) and 1.5 mm length (FWHM). Electron beams of ∼80 pC with the Gaussian energy distribution centered at 37 MeV and a width of 30 MeV (FWHM) were produced via laser wakefield acceleration. Neutron fluences of ∼2.4 × 106 per shot with hundreds of ps temporal length were generated through bremsstrahlung and subsequent photoneutron reactions in a 26.6 mm thick tungsten converter. Results were compared with those of simulations using EPOCH and GEANT4, showing agreement in electron spectrum, neutron fluence, neutron angular distribution and conversion rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-302
Number of pages7
JournalMatter and Radiation at Extremes
Volume2
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2017

Keywords

  • LWFA
  • Neutron source
  • Photoneutron reaction

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