Having studied for my MPhys at York and completing my Masters project within YPI, I am now continuing my studies at York as part of the Fusion CDT programme. My project is titled “Hot, dense matter creation via ultra-intense laser interaction with novel, structured targets” and is supervised by Dr. Kate Lancaster.
Inertial confinement fusion uses intense lasers to compress and heat a fuel pellet and create energy. A variation of ICF, called fast ignition, uses electrons produced during ultra-intense laser interaction with matter to heat the fuel to fusion temperatures. We can increase the efficiency of this process by collimating the electrons or increasing the amount of laser energy absorbed. At present the absorption is limited by the density the laser can penetrate to, but there are options to improve this. One way is to use nano-structured targets such that absorption of laser energy is increased to create hotter material. The project aims to investigate this method through both experimental and simulation work to gain a higher understanding of the physics of heating matter for fusion and improve hot, dense matter creation. This work will not only have use in ICF but can also be applied to nuclear astrophysics, radiation transfer and the studies of hot dense matter properties.