Abstract

High power laser improvements, high quality aspheric lenses, and sharp focusing on a solid deuterium target enable us to get numerous nuclear fusion reactions inside the deuterium plasma. Since Maiman successfully built the first light amplifier in 1960 [ Nature 187, 493 ( 1960)] and Terhune performed air breakdown experiments in 1962 [ “ Optical Third Harmonic Generation,” Comptes rendus de la 3ème Conférence Internationale d’Electronique Quantique, Paris, 11–15 février 1963, P. Grivet and N. Bloembergen, Eds. ( Dunod, Paris, 1964), pp. 1559– 1576], the laser has been thought of as a valuable energy source for fusion devices. Now a kind of race has started toward high temperature plasmas created by powerful lasers. However, the peak power of solid state laser is limited by glass damage, pump efficiences, and unwanted effects such as superradiance. So it is necessary to improve all the optical properties of the laser and the focusing of the lens on the target. In this paper, requirements for fusion implying a very high flux will be stated. Successive optical designs will be described together with measurement methods, and the contribution of optical improvements to the occurrence of nuclear fusion reaction in deuterium targets will be evaluated.

© 1971 Optical Society of America

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