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EMP control and characterisation on high-power laser systems

Bradford, P and Woolsey, N. C. and Scott, G. G. and Liao, G. and Liu, H. and Zhang, Y. and Zhu, B. and Armstrong, C. and Astbury, S. and Brenner, C. and Brummitt, P. and Consoli, F. and East, I. and Gray, R. and Haddock, D. and Huggard, P. and Jones, P. J. R. and Montgomery, E. and Musgrave, I. and Oliveira, P. and Rusby, D. R. and Spindloe, C. and Summers, B. and Zemaityte, E. and Zhang, Z. and Li, Y. and McKenna, P. and Neely, D. (2018) EMP control and characterisation on high-power laser systems. High Power Laser Science and Engineering. ISSN 2095-4719 (In Press)

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Abstract

Giant electromagnetic pulses (EMP) generated during the interaction of high-power lasers with solid targets can seriously degrade electrical mea- surements and equipment. EMP emission is caused by the acceleration of hot electrons in- side the target, which produce radiation across a wide band from DC to terahertz frequencies. Improved understanding and control of EMP is vital as we enter a new era of high repetition rate, high intensity lasers (e.g. ELI, the Extreme Light Infrastructure). We present recent data from the VULCAN laser facility that demonstrates how EMP can be readily and effectively reduced. Characterisation of the EMP was achieved using B-dot and D-dot probes that took measurements for a range of different target and laser parame- ters. We demonstrate that target stalk geometry, material composition and foil surface area can all play a significant role in the reduction of EMP. A combination of electromagnetic wave and 3D particle-in-cell simulations are used to inform our conclusions about the effects of stalk geometry on EMP, providing an opportunity for comparison with existing charge separation models.