Publications by Gianluca Gregori
Observation of magnetic field generation via the Weibel instability in interpenetrating plasma flows
Nature Physics Nature Publishing Group (2015)
Collisionless shocks can be produced as a result of strong magnetic fields in a plasma flow, and therefore are common in many astrophysical systems. The Weibel instability is one candidate mechanism for the generation of sufficiently strong fields to create a collisionless shock. Despite their crucial role in astrophysical systems, observation of the magnetic fields produced by Weibel instabilities in experiments has been challenging. Using a proton probe to directly image electromagnetic fields, we present evidence of Weibel-generated magnetic fields that grow in opposing, initially unmagnetized plasma flows from laser-driven laboratory experiments. Three-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations reveal that the instability efficiently extracts energy from the plasma flows, and that the self-generated magnetic energy reaches a few percent of the total energy in the system. This result demonstrates an experimental platform suitable for the investigation of a wide range of astrophysical phenomena, including collisionless shock formation in supernova remnants, large-scale magnetic field amplification, and the radiation signature from gamma-ray bursts.
High Energy Density Physics Elsevier 14 (2015) 1-5
We present measurements of electron-ion temperature equilibration in proton-heated tantalum, under warm dense matter conditions. Our results agree with theoretical predictions for metals calculated using input data from ab initio simulations. However, the fast relaxation observed in the experiment contrasts with much longer equilibration times found in proton heated carbon, indicating that the energy flow pathways in warm dense matter are far from being fully understood.
NATURE PHYSICS 10 (2014) 520-524
Physical review letters 112 (2014) 145005-
We have employed fast electrons produced by intense laser illumination to isochorically heat thermal electrons in solid density carbon to temperatures of ∼10,000 K. Using time-resolved x-ray diffraction, the temperature evolution of the lattice ions is obtained through the Debye-Waller effect, and this directly relates to the electron-ion equilibration rate. This is shown to be considerably lower than predicted from ideal plasma models. We attribute this to strong ion coupling screening the electron-ion interaction.
PLASMA PHYSICS AND CONTROLLED FUSION 56 (2014) ARTN 084001
Physical review letters 112 (2014) 145004-
Detailed measurements of the electron densities, temperatures, and ionization states of compressed CH shells approaching pressures of 50 Mbar are achieved with spectrally resolved x-ray scattering. Laser-produced 9 keV x-rays probe the plasma during the transient state of three-shock coalescence. High signal-to-noise x-ray scattering spectra show direct evidence of continuum depression in highly degenerate warm dense matter states with electron densities ne>1024 cm-3. The measured densities and temperatures agree well with radiation-hydrodynamic modeling when accounting for continuum lowering in calculations that employ detailed configuration accounting.
Scientific reports 4 (2014) 5214-
Here, we report results of an experiment creating a transient, highly correlated carbon state using a combination of optical and x-ray lasers. Scattered x-rays reveal a highly ordered state with an electrostatic energy significantly exceeding the thermal energy of the ions. Strong Coulomb forces are predicted to induce nucleation into a crystalline ion structure within a few picoseconds. However, we observe no evidence of such phase transition after several tens of picoseconds but strong indications for an over-correlated fluid state. The experiment suggests a much slower nucleation and points to an intermediate glassy state where the ions are frozen close to their original positions in the fluid.
Physical review letters 112 (2014) 105002-
We report on the dynamics of ultrafast heating in cryogenic hydrogen initiated by a ≲300 fs, 92 eV free electron laser x-ray burst. The rise of the x-ray scattering amplitude from a second x-ray pulse probes the transition from dense cryogenic molecular hydrogen to a nearly uncorrelated plasmalike structure, indicating an electron-ion equilibration time of ∼0.9 ps. The rise time agrees with radiation hydrodynamics simulations based on a conductivity model for partially ionized plasma that is validated by two-temperature density-functional theory.
Exploring Mbar shock conditions and isochorically heated aluminum at the Matter in Extreme Conditions end station of the Linac Coherent Light Source (invited).
The Review of scientific instruments 85 (2014) 11E702-
Recent experiments performed at the Matter in Extreme Conditions end station of the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) have demonstrated the first spectrally resolved measurements of plasmons from isochorically heated aluminum. The experiments have been performed using a seeded 8-keV x-ray laser beam as a pump and probe to both volumetrically heat and scatter x-rays from aluminum. Collective x-ray Thomson scattering spectra show a well-resolved plasmon feature that is down-shifted in energy by 19 eV. In addition, Mbar shock pressures from laser-compressed aluminum foils using velocity interferometer system for any reflector have been measured. The combination of experiments fully demonstrates the possibility to perform warm dense matter studies at the LCLS with unprecedented accuracy and precision.
IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON PLASMA SCIENCE 42 (2014) 2496-2497
PHYSICAL REVIEW E 90 (2014) ARTN 013104
SCALING OF MAGNETO-QUANTUM-RADIATIVE HYDRODYNAMIC EQUATIONS: FROM LASER-PRODUCED PLASMAS TO ASTROPHYSICS
ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL 795 (2014) ARTN 59
PHYSICS OF PLASMAS 21 (2014) ARTN 056302
Orbital-free density-functional theory simulations of the dynamic structure factor of warm dense aluminum
Physical Review Letters 111 (2013)
Here, we report orbital-free density-functional theory (OF DFT) molecular dynamics simulations of the dynamic ion structure factor of warm solid density aluminum at T=0.5 eV and T=5 eV. We validate the OF DFT method in the warm dense matter regime through comparison of the static and thermodynamic properties with the more complete Kohn-Sham DFT. This extension of OF DFT to dynamic properties indicates that previously used models based on classical molecular dynamics may be inadequate to capture fully the low frequency dynamics of the response function. © 2013 American Physical Society.
EPJ Web of Conferences 59 (2013)
Collisionless shocks are produced in counter-streaming plasmas with an external magnetic field. The shocks are generated due to an electrostatic field generated in counter-streaming laser-irradiated plasmas, as reported previously in a series of experiments without an external magnetic field [T. Morita et al., Phys. Plasmas, 17, 122702 (2010), Kuramitsu et al., Phys. Rev. Lett., 106, 175002 (2011)] via laser-irradiation of a double-CH-foil target. A magnetic field is applied to the region between two foils by putting an electro-magnet (∼10 T) perpendicular to the direction of plasma expansion. The generated shocks show different characteristics later in time (t > 20ns). © Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2013.
Comparison between x-ray scattering and velocity-interferometry measurements from shocked liquid deuterium
Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics 87 (2013)
The equation of state of light elements is essential to understand the structure of Jovian planets and inertial confinement fusion research. The Omega laser was used to drive a planar shock wave in the cryogenically cooled deuterium, creating warm dense matter conditions. X-ray scattering was used to determine the spectrum near the boundary of the collective and noncollective scattering regimes using a narrow band x-ray source in backscattering geometry. Our scattering spectra are thus sensitive to the individual electron motion as well as the collective plasma behavior and provide a measurement of the electron density, temperature, and ionization state. Our data are consistent with velocity-interferometry measurements previously taken on the same shocked deuterium conditions and presented by K. Falk. This work presents a comparison of the two diagnostic systems and offers a detailed discussion of challenges encountered. ©2013 American Physical Society.
Visualizing electromagnetic fields in laser-produced counter-streaming plasma experiments for collisionless shock laboratory astrophysics
Physics of Plasmas 20 (2013)
Collisionless shocks are often observed in fast-moving astrophysical plasmas, formed by non-classical viscosity that is believed to originate from collective electromagnetic fields driven by kinetic plasma instabilities. However, the development of small-scale plasma processes into large-scale structures, such as a collisionless shock, is not well understood. It is also unknown to what extent collisionless shocks contain macroscopic fields with a long coherence length. For these reasons, it is valuable to explore collisionless shock formation, including the growth and self-organization of fields, in laboratory plasmas. The experimental results presented here show at a glance with proton imaging how macroscopic fields can emerge from a system of supersonic counter-streaming plasmas produced at the OMEGA EP laser. Interpretation of these results, plans for additional measurements, and the difficulty of achieving truly collisionless conditions are discussed. Future experiments at the National Ignition Facility are expected to create fully formed collisionless shocks in plasmas with no pre-imposed magnetic field. © 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.
Physics of Plasmas 20 (2013)
Spherically expanding radiative shock waves have been observed from inertially confined implosion experiments at the National Ignition Facility. In these experiments, a spherical fusion target, initially 2 mm in diameter, is compressed via the pressure induced from the ablation of the outer target surface. At the peak compression of the capsule, x-ray and nuclear diagnostics indicate the formation of a central core, with a radius and ion temperature of ∼20 μm and ∼ 2 keV, respectively. This central core is surrounded by a cooler compressed shell of deuterium-tritium fuel that has an outer radius of ∼40 μm and a density of >500 g/cm3. Using inputs from multiple diagnostics, the peak pressure of the compressed core has been inferred to be of order 100 Gbar for the implosions discussed here. The shock front, initially located at the interface between the high pressure compressed fuel shell and surrounding in-falling low pressure ablator plasma, begins to propagate outwards after peak compression has been reached. Approximately 200 ps after peak compression, a ring of x-ray emission created by the limb-brightening of a spherical shell of shock-heated matter is observed to appear at a radius of ∼100 μm. Hydrodynamic simulations, which model the experiment and include radiation transport, indicate that the sudden appearance of this emission occurs as the post-shock material temperature increases and upstream density decreases, over a scale length of ∼10 μm, as the shock propagates into the lower density (∼1 g/cc), hot (∼250 eV) plasma that exists at the ablation front. The expansion of the shock-heated matter is temporally and spatially resolved and indicates a shock expansion velocity of ∼300 km/s in the laboratory frame. The magnitude and temporal evolution of the luminosity produced from the shock-heated matter was measured at photon energies between 5.9 and 12.4 keV. The observed radial shock expansion, as well as the magnitude and temporal evolution of the luminosity from the shock-heated matter, is consistent with 1-D radiation hydrodynamic simulations. Analytic estimates indicate that the radiation energy flux from the shock-heated matter is of the same order as the in-flowing material energy flux, and suggests that this radiation energy flux modifies the shock front structure. Simulations support these estimates and show the formation of a radiative shock, with a precursor that raises the temperature ahead of the shock front, a sharp μ m-scale thick spike in temperature at the shock front, followed by a post-shock cooling layer. © 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.