Nuclear reactions initiated by laser-accelerated particle beams are a promising new approach to many applications, from medical radioisotopes to aneutronic energy production. We present results demonstrating the occurrence of secondary nuclear reactions, initiated by the primary nuclear reaction products, using multicomponent targets composed of either natural boron (B) or natural boron nitride (BN). The primary proton-boron reaction (p +11B → 3 α + 8.7 MeV), is one of the most attractive aneutronic fusion reaction. We report radioactive decay signatures in targets irradiated at the Elfie laser facility by laser-accelerated particle beams which we interpret as due to secondary reactions induced by alpha (α) particles produced in the primary reactions. Use of a second nanosecond laser beam, adequately synchronized with the short laser pulse to produce a plasma target, further enhanced the reaction rates. High rates and chains of reactions are essential for most applications.
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