ABSTRACT: Thomson scattering has recently been introduced as a fundamental diagnostic of plasma conditions and basic physical processes in dense, inertial confinement fusion plasmas. Experiments at the Nova laser facility [E. M. Campbell et al., Laser Part. Beams 9, 209 (1991)] have demonstrated accurate temporally and spatially resolved characterization of densities, electron temperatures, and average ionization levels by simultaneously observing Thomson scattered light from ion acoustic and electron plasma (Langmuir) fluctuations. In addition, observations of fast and slow ion acoustic waves in two-ion species plasmas have also allowed an independent measurement of the ion temperature. These results have motivated the application of Thomson scattering in closed-geometry inertial confinement fusion hohlraums to benchmark integrated radiation-hydrodynamic modeling of fusion plasmas. For this purpose a high energy 4ω probe laser was implemented recently allowing ultraviolet Thomson scattering at various locations in high-density gas-filled hohlraum plasmas. In particular, the observation of steep electron temperature gradients indicates that electron thermal transport is inhibited in these gas-filled hohlraums. Hydrodynamic calculations which include an exact treatment of large-scale magnetic fields are in agreement with these findings. Moreover, the Thomson scattering data clearly indicate axial stagnation in these hohlraums by showing a fast rise of the ion temperature. Its timing is in good agreement with calculations indicating that the stagnating plasma will not deteriorate the implosion of the fusion capsules in ignition experiments.
Physics of Plasmas 04/1999; 6(5):2117-2128. · 2.15 Impact Factor