When a laser pulse of intensity interacts with solid targets, electrons of energies of some tens of MeV are produced. In a tantalum target, the electrons generate an intense highly directional -ray beam that can be used to carry out photonuclear reactions. The isotopes , , , , , , and have been produced by reactions using the VULCAN laser beam. In addition, laser-induced nuclear fission in has been demonstrated, a process which was theoretically predicted at such laser intensities more than ten years ago. The ratio of the and the activities yields shot-by-shot temperatures of the suprathermal electrons at laser intensities of .
- Received 9 March 1999
- Published in the issue dated 31 January 2000
© 2000 The American Physical Society