Beamed neutron emission driven by laser accelerated light ions

S Kar, A Green, H Ahmed, A Alejo, A P L Robinson, M Cerchez, R Clarke, D Doria, S Dorkings, J Fernandez, S R Mirfayzi, P Mckenna, K Naughton, D Neely, P Norreys, C Peth, H Powell, J A Ruiz, J Swain, O WilliM Borghesi

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Highly anisotropic, beam-like neutron emission with peak flux of the order of109 n/sr was obtained from light nuclei reactions in a pitcher-catcher scenario, by employing MeV ions driven by sub-petawatt laser. The spatial prole of the neutron beam, fully captured for the first time by employing a CR39 nuclear track detector, shows a FWHM divergence angle of ∼70°, with a peak flux nearly an order of magnitude higher than the isotropic component elsewhere. The observed beamed flux of neutrons is highly favourable for a wide range of applications, and indeed for further transport and moderation to thermal energies.  A systematic study employing various combinations of pitcher-catcher materials indicates the dominant reactions being d(p,n+p)1H and d(d,n)3He. Albeit in sufficient cross-section data are available for modelling, the observed anisotropy in the neutrons' spatial and spectral profiles are most likely related to the directionality and high energy of the projectile ions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2016


  • neutron emission
  • laser acceleration
  • ion
  • neutron
  • laser

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