Measurements of parametric instabilities at laser intensities relevant to strong shock generation

Measurements of parametric instabilities at laser intensities relevant to strong shock generation
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G. Cristoforetti, L. Antonelli, S. AtzeniF. BaffigiF. BarbatoD. BataniG. BoutouxA. ColaitisJ. Dostal, R. DudzakL. JuhaP. Koester, A. Marocchino,D. MancelliPh. Nicolai, O. Renner, J. J. SantosA. SchiaviM. M. SkoricM. SmidP. Straka, L. A. Gizzi

Physics of Plasmas 25, 012702 (2018)


Parametric instabilities at laser intensities in the range (2–6) × 1015 W/cm2 (438 nm, 250 ps, 100–300 J) have been investigated in planar geometry at the Prague Asterix Laser System facility via calorimetry and spectroscopy. The density scalelength of the plasma was varied by using an auxiliary pulse to form a preplasma before the arrival of the main laser beam and by changing the delay between the two pulses. Experimental data show that Stimulated Brillouin Scattering (SBS) is more effective than Stimulated Raman Scattering (SRS) in degrading laser-plasma coupling, therefore reducing the energy available for the generation of the shock wave. The level of the SBS backscatter and laser reflection is found to be in the range between 3% and 15% of the incident laser energy, while Backward SRS (BRS) reflectivity ranges between 0.02% and 0.2%, depending on the delay between the pulses. Half-integer harmonic emission is observed and provides a signature of Two Plasmon Decay (TPD) occurring around the quarter of the critical density. Data analysis suggests that SRS is driven in beam speckles with high local intensity and occurs in bursts, particularly at higher laser intensities, due to the presence of kinetic mechanisms saturating the SRS growth in the speckles. Time-resolved measurements also show that BRS occurs in the trailing part of the laser pulse, when the plasma has a longer density scalelength. Our measurements also indicate that hot electrons are predominantly produced by SRS rather than TPD.

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