UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A study of laser plasma interactions in a cylindrical cavity McKenna, RossAllan D.


A CO₂ laser system delivering a 12 J pulse with a FWHM of 2 ns on target was developed to serve as a driver for studies of laser plasma interactions within a cylindrical cavity. The system consisted of a hybrid oscillator, followed by an amplifier chain, and it achieved its design goals of delivering an intense CO₂ pulse, Gaussian in time and space, with a high contrast ratio on a reliable basis. The targets in which the plasma was produced consisted of small rectangular plates of lucite, with holes drilled through one of the long axes. The holes were 350 μm to 600 μm in diameter, and 10 mm in length. These dimensions allowed the laser beam, focused at the entrance of the hole, to produce sufficient intensity on the inner walls of the cylindrical cavity for plasma formation, while allowing the beam, with a waist diameter of 100 μm at the focus to deliver most of its energy within the cavity. The beam propagated via multiple reflections from the plasma through the cavity. Diagnostics were performed on the beam transmitted through the target. Streak camera images were collected of the intensity of visible emission from the plasma along the axis of the target. Anomalous results were obtained with respect to the reproducible observation of maximum visible light emission from regions at the far end cavity from where the laser beam is injected. Another unforseen but interesting result was the small divergence of the beam transmitted through the cavity. Preliminary models were developed to attempt to explain the observations.

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