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Laser Speckle Control for Nuclear Fusion Research
Terrance J. Kessler, Laboratory for Laser Energetics, University of Rochester
Abstract An essential requirement for direct-drive laser fusion is the uniform irradiation of fuel pellets located at the focal plane of a multi-beam laser system. Focal spot uniformity is achieved by modifying a laser beam's coherence properties thereby changing its focusing characteristics. Laser speckle is simultaneously created and smoothed to uniformly irradiate fusion targets without deleterious plasmas effects. Laser beam smoothing, using distributed phase plates, spectral dispersion, and distributed polarization rotation has been an effective means to spatially condition laser beams for use in laser fusion research. Phase plates are designed to shape the on-target irradiance distribution for efficiently coupling of laser energy to target and to mitigate the effects from laser-plasmas and hydrodynamic instabilities. Key elements of optical design and technological development will be presented.
Biography Terrance J. Kessler, a senior research engineer at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, University of Rochester, formed the Optics and Imaging Sciences group to support nuclear fusion research over the last 25 years. This group has worked on the design and testing of high peak power lasers, laser coherence control, and the development of diffractive and holographic optics. Concurrently, he organized a teaching laboratory at the Rochester Institute of Technology in which he had instructed and trained students in optics and holography for