Free Electron Laser development for directed energy
McGinnis, Roger D.
Colson, William B.
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This dissertation investigates power requirements for a Free Electron Laser to burn through various missile radome materials. It also includes computer simulation results for several FEL system configurations designed to achieve maximum power while maintaining strict energy spread constraints. The method used to determine power requirements to burn through materials was to use the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility's Free Electron Laser to conduct material damage experiments. As the laser was improved and increased in power, the laser spot sizes on the target materials was increased while maintaining a constant irradiance. The key results from these experiments included determining minimal spot sizes that can be used for future experiments, and validation that an irradiance level of 10 kW/cm2can burn through most missile radome materials in a few seconds. The computer simulations involved changing various parameters of a FEL such as electron energy levels, pulse lengths, magnetic field strengths, desynchronism, as well as several other parameters, to determine the best possible configuration to achieve the desire power levels and energy spread requirements for development of a weapon size FEL. The results indicate that for the proposed designs, both the required power and the required energy spread limit can be met.
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