Neutron production by fast protons from ultraintense laser-plasma interactions

Yang, J. M. and McKenna, P. and Ledingham, K. W.D. and McCanny, T. and Robson, L. and Shimizu, S. and Singhal, R. P. and Wei, M. S. and Krushelnick, K. and Clarke, R. J. and Neely, D. and Norreys, P. A. (2004) Neutron production by fast protons from ultraintense laser-plasma interactions. Journal of Applied Physics, 96 (11). pp. 6912-6918. ISSN 0021-8979

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    Abstract

    Tens of MeV proton beams have been generated by interactions of the VULCAN petawatt laser with foil targets and used to induce nuclear reactions in zinc and boron samples. The numbers of 11C, 66Ga, 67Ga, 68Ga, 61Cu, 62Zn, 63Zn, and 69mZn nuclei have been measured and used to determine the proton energy spectrum. It is known that (p,n) reactions provide an important method for producing neutron sources and in the present experiment up to ∼109 neutrons sr-1 have been generated via 11B(p,n)11C reactions. Using experimentally determined proton energy spectra, the production of neutrons via (p,n) reactions in various targets has been simulated, to quantify neutron pulse intensities and energy spectra. It has been shown that as high as 4 × 109 neutrons sr-1 per laser pulse can be generated via 7Li(p,n) 7B reactions using the present VULCAN petawatt laser-pulse conditions.