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Generation and characterization of short-duration and high-brightness laser-driven neutron sources

Abstract : Neutrons make it possible to probe matter in a unique and valuable way compared to what is possible using charged particles (electrons, ions) or electromagnetic (optical domain) or ionizing (X, gamma) radiations. While X-rays, electrons and ions interact strongly with the electrons present in materials, neutrons have the unique ability (by diffraction or low-angle scattering) to reach nuclei, and thus provide crucial information about the complex processes of molecular motion and atomic vibrations. However, various aspects of these domains are studied at the extreme limit of existing neutron sources - the main limitation being the temporal resolution of current sources, of the order of millisec.- microsec. Ultrafast (sub-nanosec) time scale studies using neutrons either as a pump or as a probe are currently not possible because no high-flux neutron source (eg> 10 ^ 9 neutrons / cm ^ 2 / s) does exist over such a short time. An opportunity for such development is possible through the production of neutron sources by intense laser pulses which, under appropriate conditions, can generate a pulsed packet of neutrons in a narrow band of energy. Leveraging such a source would open exciting opportunities for life sciences, solid state physics and many technological applications, such as penetrating explosives detection, semiconductor device testing and materials used for shielding spacecraft or aircraft, developing robust materials for fusion / fission reactors, or diagnosing containers used for storing radioactive nuclear waste. The development of such a neutron source is the main objective of this thesis. The aim of the work was to make a first demonstration of a narrow-spectrum neutron source, so that the short duration of the beam at the source can be maintained over the distances required for applications. The project was developed on various high-intensity laser facilities, in particular the ELFIE laser facility of the LULI laboratory and the TITAN laser facility (LLNL).
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Submitted on : Monday, April 30, 2018 - 1:32:00 PM
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151204 PhD thesis Laura Vassur...
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  • HAL Id : tel-01781475, version 1



Laura Vassura. Generation and characterization of short-duration and high-brightness laser-driven neutron sources. Plasma Physics [physics.plasm-ph]. ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE, 2015. English. ⟨tel-01781475⟩



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