In this paper, we report the study of degradation for a kind of ideal mandrel material called poly-α-methylstyrene based on theoretical and experimental methods. First-principles calculations reveal two types of process: depolymerization and hydrogen-transfer-induced chain scission. The energy barrier for the former (0.68–0.82 eV) is smaller than that for most of the latter (1.39–4.23 eV). More importantly, reaction rates suggest that the former is fast whereas the latter is mostly slow, which can result in a difference of 5–31 orders of magnitude at 550 K. Furthermore, a thermogravimetric experiment shows that the activation energy of 2.53 eV for degradation is between those of fast and slow processes, corresponding to the theoretical average value of multiple reaction paths. Thus, a mandrel degradation model combining fast and slow processes is established at the atomic level. Our work provides a direction for research into the key technology of target fabrication in inertial confinement fusion..
We have proposed and experimentally demonstrated a novel scheme for efficient mid-infrared difference-frequency generation based on passively synchronized fiber lasers. The adoption of coincident seeding pulses in the nonlinear conversion process could substantially lower the pumping threshold for mid-infrared parametric emission. Consequently, a picosecond mid-infrared source at 3.1 μm was prepared with watt-level average power, and a maximum power conversion efficiency of 77% was realized from pump to down-converted light. Additionally, the long-term stability of generated power was manifested with a relative fluctuation as low as 0.17% over one hour. Thanks to the all-optical passive synchronization and all-polarization-maintaining fiber architecture, the implemented laser system was also featured with simplicity, compactness and robustness, which would favor subsequent applications beyond laboratory operation..