Experimental damage studies for a free electron laser weapon
Thomson, Robert W.
Colson, William B.
Armstead, Robert L.
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Laser material damage experiments for this thesis were the first ever conducted at the new DoE Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (TJNAF) free electron laser (FEL) user laboratory. In the past only large-scale laser experiments were thought to properly model weapons applications. Experimental procedures developed in this thesis allowed a scaled-down laser of a few hundred Watts to characterize the damage from a weapon-scale one million Watt laser. The TJNAF FEL has the power of a microwave oven concentrated into a beam the size of a pencil lead. The unique TJNAF FEL beam bombards the target with a steady stream of tens of millions of pulses per second each containing 50 million Watts of power in a short burst of 4 x 10(exp -13) seconds. No other laser combines these characteristics, and no experiments have previously been done to explore the effects of the FEL pulse. Target materials were obtained from the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and from Naval Surface Warfare Division (NSWD) Port Hueneme. Data were collected and analyzed using video cameras, optical microscopes and a scanning electron microscope (SEM). This thesis has been a productive cooperation among NPS, TJNAF, NRL, and NSWD Port Hueneme, to the benefit of DoD