Micro-scale fusion in dense relativistic nanowire
, Chase Calvi
, James Tinsley
, Reed Hollinger
, Vural Kaymak
, Alexander Pukhov
, Alex Rockwood
, Yong Wang
, Vyacheslav N. Shlyaptsev
& Jorge J. Rocca
Nuclear fusion is regularly created in spherical plasma compressions driven by multi-kilojoule
pulses from the world’s largest lasers. Here we demonstrate a dense fusion environment
created by irradiating arrays of deuterated nanostructures with joule-level pulses from a
compact ultrafast laser. The irradiation of ordered deuterated polyethylene nanowires arrays
with femtosecond pulses of relativistic intensity creates ultra-high energy density plasmas in
which deuterons (D) are accelerated up to MeV energies, efﬁciently driving D–D fusion
reactions and ultrafast neutron bursts. We measure up to 2 × 10
fusion neutrons per joule,
an increase of about 500 times with respect to ﬂat solid targets, a record yield for joule-level
lasers. Moreover, in accordance with simulation predictions, we observe a rapid increase in
neutron yield with laser pulse energy. The results will impact nuclear science and high energy
density research and can lead to bright ultrafast quasi-monoenergetic neutron point sources
for imaging and materials studies.
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA.
Department of Physics, Colorado State
University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA.
Nevada National Security Site, Las Vegas, NV 89030, USA.
Institut für Theoretische Physik, Heinrich-Heine-
Universität Düsseldorf, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany. Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to
J.J.R. (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)