Influence of laser bandwidth and wavelength on laser plasma instabilities

As part of the Taranis project initiated by Thales and supported by BPI France and in collaboration with numerous scientific partners such as CEA/DAM, CELIA and LULI, work on target design and definition of the laser intended to energy production in direct drive will take place. A prerequisite for this work is to understand the laser-plasma interaction mechanisms that will occur when the laser is coupled with the target. These deleterious mechanisms for the success of fusion experiments can be regulated by the use of so-called “broadband” lasers. In addition, the choice of the laser wavelength used for the target design and the laser architecture must be defined. The objective of the postdoctoral position is to study the growth and evolution of these instabilities (Brillouin, Raman) in the presence of “broadband” lasers both from an experimental and simulation point of view, and thus to be able to define the laser conditions making it possible to reduce these parametric instabilities.

Crystal plasticity in classical molecular dynamics and mesoscopic upscaling

Thanks to new supercomputer architectures, classical molecular dynamics simulations will soon enter the realm of a thousand billion atoms, never before achieved, thus becoming capable of representing the plasticity of metals at the micron scale. However, such simulations generate a considerable amount of data, and the difficulty now lies in their exploitation in order to extract the statistical ingredients relevant to the scale of "mesoscopic" plasticity (the scale of continuous models).
The evolution of a material is complex, as it depends on lines of crystalline defects (dislocations) whose evolution is governed by numerous mechanisms. In order to feed models at higher scales, the quantities to be extracted are the velocities and lengths of dislocations, as well as their evolution over time. These data can be extracted using specific analysis techniques based on characterization of the local environment ('distortion score', 'local deformation'), a posteriori or in situ during simulation. Finally, machine learning tools can be used to analyze the statistics obtained and extract and synthesize (by model reduction) a minimal description of plasticity for models at higher scales.

Atomic sensors based on metastable 4He

Detection of weak magnetic fields opens the way to new techniques of medical imaging, geophysics and chemistry. Optically pumped magnetometers are currently the most accurate and precise sensors for magnetic fields [1]. Our lab works on optically-pumped magnetometers based on a thermal gas of helium-4 metastables, a spin-one electronic species. Our main achievement in last years has been the design and space qualification of the most recent generation of magnetometers available for spatial exploration, which were launched by ESA Swarm mission [2].
We are now starting a new project in order to explore further applications of magneto-optical effects of metastable helium. Indeed, dichroism and birefringence have been observed on 4He from the very first times of optical pumping [3] but, in strong contrast with alkali [4], the nonlinear regimes which can be reached from the introduction of 1083 nm lasers have been hardly studied. These regimes open new possibilities for realizing not only magnetometers but also other kind of useful sensors which address a broader range of industrial applications.
We are looking for a motivated postdoc candidate willing to work towards a better understanding of these effects but also towards harnessing them for building ultra-precise sensors. The applicant should have a PhD in physics, ideally with a good background in experimental atomic physics and/or laser physics. Our lab is well equipped and staff engineers will be available to assist the post doc on technical aspects related to optics, design of electronics and magnetic materials. The results will be divulgated in form both of journal publications and of patents.
[1] Kominis et al., Nature 422 (2003)
[3] Laloë, Leduc, Minguzzi, Journal de Physique, 30 (1969)
S. Pancharatnam, J. Phys. B: At. Mol. Phys. 1 (1968).
[4] Budker et al., Rev. Mod. Phys. 74 (2002)

xenon measurement by Cavity RingDown Spectroscopy to improve safety in the fast neutron reactors

Safety is a key point of the IVth generation nuclear reactors. Therefore new analytical methods are investigated for reliably detecting tracers of a nuclear reactor malfunction. This postdoctoral work aims at studying an innovative laser absorption method, Cavity RingDown Spectroscopy CDRS, to measure gaseous tracers indicating a reactor malfunction. This study is part of the research and development activity of the Physical Chemistry Department (DPC), which is partly involved in improving and developing tools and analytical methods. The optical system studies are a collaboration work with the "Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Physique" of the Grenoble University (France), which is a leader research laboratory in trace gas detection by laser absorption methods CRDS (Cavity RingDown Spectroscopy) and OF-CEAS (Optical Feedback Cavity Enhanced Absorption Spectroscopy).
A glow discharge was coupled to a Cavity RingDown measurement. After plasma conditions optimization, the optical set-up is able to measure below 1 part per billion Xe/Ar mixing ratios. The optical saturation of the xenon electronic transition should be considered to quantify each isotope. The optimized CRDS measurement will be characterized. The set-up could further measure krypton isotopes.
A. Pailloux & al., depot de brevet 11 62436 (2011)
P. Jacquet, A. Pailloux, submitted to J. Anal. Atom. Spectrom. (2013)
N. Sadeghi, J. Plasma Fusion Research 80 (9), pp 767-776 (2005)