Abstract

Inertial confinement fusion requires propagation of high-intensity, pulse-shaped IR and UV laser beams through long air paths. Such beams are subject to energy losses and decreased beam quality as a result by stimulated rotational Raman scattering (SRRS). In this paper we describe how quantum fluctuations, stimulated Raman amplification, diffraction propagation, and optical aberrations interact during the propagation of short, high-power laser pulses using a four-dimensional (4-D) model of the optical beams and the medium. The 4-D model has been incorporated into a general optical-propagation computer program that allows the entire optical system to be modeled and that is implemented on high-end personal computers, workstations, and supercomputers. The numerical model is used to illustrate important phenomena in the evolution of the optical beams. In addition, the OMEGA Upgrade laser system is used as a design case to illustrate the various considerations for inertial confinement fusion laser design.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

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