Publications by Gianluca Gregori


Transition from Collisional to Collisionless Regimes in Interpenetrating Plasma Flows on the National Ignition Facility.

Phys Rev Lett 118 (2017) 185003-

JS Ross, DP Higginson, D Ryutov, F Fiuza, R Hatarik, CM Huntington, DH Kalantar, A Link, BB Pollock, BA Remington, HG Rinderknecht, GF Swadling, DP Turnbull, S Weber, S Wilks, DH Froula, MJ Rosenberg, T Morita, Y Sakawa, H Takabe, RP Drake, C Kuranz, G Gregori, J Meinecke, MC Levy, M Koenig, A Spitkovsky, RD Petrasso, CK Li, H Sio, B Lahmann, AB Zylstra, HS Park

A study of the transition from collisional to collisionless plasma flows has been carried out at the National Ignition Facility using high Mach number (M>4) counterstreaming plasmas. In these experiments, CD-CD and CD-CH planar foils separated by 6-10 mm are irradiated with laser energies of 250 kJ per foil, generating ∼1000  km/s plasma flows. Varying the foil separation distance scales the ion density and average bulk velocity and, therefore, the ion-ion Coulomb mean free path, at the interaction region at the midplane. The characteristics of the flow interaction have been inferred from the neutrons and protons generated by deuteron-deuteron interactions and by x-ray emission from the hot, interpenetrating, and interacting plasmas. A localized burst of neutrons and bright x-ray emission near the midpoint of the counterstreaming flows was observed, suggesting strong heating and the initial stages of shock formation. As the separation of the CD-CH foils increases we observe enhanced neutron production compared to particle-in-cell simulations that include Coulomb collisions, but do not include collective collisionless plasma instabilities. The observed plasma heating and enhanced neutron production is consistent with the initial stages of collisionless shock formation, mediated by the Weibel filamentation instability.


Magnetic field production via the Weibel instability in interpenetrating plasma flows

Physics of Plasmas 24 (2017)

CM Huntington, MJE Manuel, JS Ross, SC Wilks, F Fiuza, HG Rinderknecht, HS Park, G Gregori, DP Higginson, J Park, BB Pollock, BA Remington, DD Ryutov, C Ruyer, Y Sakawa, H Sio, A Spitkovsky, GF Swadling, H Takabe, AB Zylstra

© 2017 Author(s).Many astrophysical systems are effectively “collisionless,” that is, the mean free path for collisions between particles is much longer than the size of the system. The absence of particle collisions does not preclude shock formation, however, as shocks can be the result of plasma instabilities that generate and amplify electromagnetic fields. The magnetic fields required for shock formation may either be initially present, for example, in supernova remnants or young galaxies, or they may be self-generated in systems such as gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). In the case of GRB outflows, the Weibel instability is a candidate mechanism for the generation of sufficiently strong magnetic fields to produce shocks. In experiments on the OMEGA Laser, we have demonstrated a quasi-collisionless system that is optimized for the study of the non-linear phase of Weibel instability growth. Using a proton probe to directly image electromagnetic fields, we measure Weibel-generated magnetic fields that grow in opposing, initially unmagnetized plasma flows. The collisionality of the system is determined from coherent Thomson scattering measurements, and the data are compared to similar measurements of a fully collisionless system. The strong, persistent Weibel growth observed here serves as a diagnostic for exploring large-scale magnetic field amplification and the microphysics present in the collisional-collisionless transition.


A strong diffusive ion mode in dense ionized matter predicted by Langevin dynamics.

Nat Commun 8 (2017) 14125-

P Mabey, S Richardson, TG White, LB Fletcher, SH Glenzer, NJ Hartley, J Vorberger, DO Gericke, G Gregori

The state and evolution of planets, brown dwarfs and neutron star crusts is determined by the properties of dense and compressed matter. Due to the inherent difficulties in modelling strongly coupled plasmas, however, current predictions of transport coefficients differ by orders of magnitude. Collective modes are a prominent feature, whose spectra may serve as an important tool to validate theoretical predictions for dense matter. With recent advances in free electron laser technology, X-rays with small enough bandwidth have become available, allowing the investigation of the low-frequency ion modes in dense matter. Here, we present numerical predictions for these ion modes and demonstrate significant changes to their strength and dispersion if dissipative processes are included by Langevin dynamics. Notably, a strong diffusive mode around zero frequency arises, which is not present, or much weaker, in standard simulations. Our results have profound consequences in the interpretation of transport coefficients in dense plasmas.


Scaled laboratory experiments explain the kink behaviour of the Crab Nebula jet.

Nat Commun 7 (2016) 13081-

CK Li, P Tzeferacos, D Lamb, G Gregori, PA Norreys, MJ Rosenberg, RK Follett, DH Froula, M Koenig, FH Seguin, JA Frenje, HG Rinderknecht, H Sio, AB Zylstra, RD Petrasso, PA Amendt, HS Park, BA Remington, DD Ryutov, SC Wilks, R Betti, A Frank, SX Hu, TC Sangster, P Hartigan, RP Drake, CC Kuranz, SV Lebedev, NC Woolsey

The remarkable discovery by the Chandra X-ray observatory that the Crab nebula's jet periodically changes direction provides a challenge to our understanding of astrophysical jet dynamics. It has been suggested that this phenomenon may be the consequence of magnetic fields and magnetohydrodynamic instabilities, but experimental demonstration in a controlled laboratory environment has remained elusive. Here we report experiments that use high-power lasers to create a plasma jet that can be directly compared with the Crab jet through well-defined physical scaling laws. The jet generates its own embedded toroidal magnetic fields; as it moves, plasma instabilities result in multiple deflections of the propagation direction, mimicking the kink behaviour of the Crab jet. The experiment is modelled with three-dimensional numerical simulations that show exactly how the instability develops and results in changes of direction of the jet.


Thomson scattering measurement of a collimated plasma jet generated by a high-power laser system

Journal of Physics: Conference Series 688 (2016)

T Ishikawa, Y Sakawa, T Morita, Y Yamaura, Y Kuramitsu, T Moritaka, T Sano, R Shimoda, K Tomita, K Uchino, S Matsukiyo, A Mizuta, N Ohnishi, R Crowston, N Woolsey, H Doyle, G Gregori, M Koenig, C Michaut, A Pelka, D Yuan, Y Li, K Zhang, J Zhong, F Wang, H Takabe

© Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd.One of the important and interesting problems in astrophysics and plasma physics is collimation of plasma jets. The collimation mechanism, which causes a plasma flow to propagate a long distance, has not been understood in detail. We have been investigating a model experiment to simulate astrophysical plasma jets with an external magnetic field [Nishio et al., EPJ. Web of Conferences 59, 15005 (2013)]. The experiment was performed by using Gekko XII HIPER laser system at Institute of Laser Engineering, Osaka University. We shot CH plane targets (3 mm × 3 mm × 10 μm) and observed rear-side plasma flows. A collimated plasma flow or plasma jet was generated by separating focal spots of laser beams. In this report, we measured plasma jet structure without an external magnetic field with shadowgraphy, and simultaneously measured the local parameters of the plasma jet, i.e., electron density, electron and ion temperatures, charge state, and drift velocity, with collective Thomson scattering.


Spherical shock in the presence of an external magnetic field

Journal of Physics: Conference Series 688 (2016)

Y Kuramitsu, S Matsukiyo, S Isayama, D Harada, T Oyama, R Fujino, Y Sakawa, T Morita, Y Yamaura, T Ishikawa, T Moritaka, T Sano, K Tomita, R Shimoda, Y Sato, K Uchino, A Pelka, R Crowston, N Woolsey, G Gregori, M Koenig, DW Yuan, CL Yin, YT Li, K Zhang, JY Zhong, FL Wang, N Ohnishi, K Nagamine, H Yoneda, H Takabe

© Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd.We investigate spherical collisionless shocks in the presence of an external magnetic field. Spherical collisionless shocks are common resultant of interactions between a expanding plasma and a surrounding plasma, such as the solar wind, stellar winds, and supernova remnants. Anisotropies often observed in shock propagations and their emissions, and it is widely believed a magnetic field plays a major role. Since the local observations of magnetic fields in astrophysical plasmas are not accessible, laboratory experiments provide unique capability to investigate such phenomena. We model the spherical shocks in the universe by irradiating a solid spherical target surrounded by a plasma in the presence of a magnetic field. We present preliminary results obtained by shadowgraphy.


Laboratory astrophysical collisionless shock experiments on Omega and NIF

Journal of Physics: Conference Series 688 (2016)

HS Park, JS Ross, CM Huntington, F Fiuza, D Ryutov, D Casey, RP Drake, G Fiksel, D Froula, G Gregori, NL Kugland, C Kuranz, MC Levy, CK Li, J Meinecke, T Morita, R Petrasso, C Plechaty, B Remington, Y Sakawa, A Spitkovsky, H Takabe, AB Zylstra

© Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd.We are performing scaled astrophysics experiments on Omega and on NIF. Laser driven counter-streaming interpenetrating supersonic plasma flows can be studied to understand astrophysical electromagnetic plasma phenomena in a controlled laboratory setting. In our Omega experiments, the counter-streaming flow plasma state is measured using Thomson scattering diagnostics, demonstrating the plasma flows are indeed super-sonic and in the collisionless regime. We observe a surprising additional electron and ion heating from ion drag force in the double flow experiments that are attributed to the ion drag force and electrostatic instabilities. [1] A proton probe is used to image the electric and magnetic fields. We observe unexpected large, stable and reproducible electromagnetic field structures that arise in the counter-streaming flows [2]. The Biermann battery magnetic field generated near the target plane, advected along the flows, and recompressed near the midplane explains the cause of such self-organizing field structures [3]. A D3He implosion proton probe image showed very clear filamentary structures; three-dimensional Particle-In-Cell simulations and simulated proton radiography images indicate that these filamentary structures are generated by Weibel instabilities and that the magnetization level (ratio of magnetic energy over kinetic energy in the system) is ∼0.01 [4]. These findings have very high astrophysical relevance and significant implications. We expect to observe true collisionless shock formation when we use >100 kJ laser energy on NIF.


Proton imaging of an electrostatic field structure formed in laser-produced counter-streaming plasmas

Journal of Physics: Conference Series 688 (2016)

T Morita, NL Kugland, W Wan, R Crowston, RP Drake, F Fiuza, G Gregori, C Huntington, T Ishikawa, M Koenig, C Kuranz, MC Levy, D Martinez, J Meinecke, F Miniati, CD Murphy, A Pelka, C Plechaty, R Presura, N Quirós, BA Remington, B Reville, JS Ross, DD Ryutov, Y Sakawa, L Steele, H Takabe, Y Yamaura, N Woolsey, HS Park

© Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd.We report the measurements of electrostatic field structures associated with an electrostatic shock formed in laser-produced counter-streaming plasmas with proton imaging. The thickness of the electrostatic structure is estimated from proton images with different proton kinetic energies from 4.7 MeV to 10.7 MeV. The width of the transition region is characterized by electron scale length in the laser-produced plasma, suggesting that the field structure is formed due to a collisionless electrostatic shock.


A laboratory model of post-Newtonian gravity with high power lasers and 4th generation light sources

Classical and Quantum Gravity 33 (2016)

G Gregori, MC Levy, MA Wadud, BJB Crowley, R Bingham

© 2016 IOP Publishing Ltd.Using the post-Newtonian formalism of gravity, we attempt to calculate the x-ray Thomson scattering cross section of electrons that are accelerated in the field of a high intensity optical laser. We show that our results are consistent with previous calculations, suggesting that the combination of high power laser and 4th generation light sources may become a powerful platform to test models exploring high order corrections to the Newtonian gravity.


Laboratory analogue of a supersonic accretion column in a binary star system.

Nature communications 7 (2016) ncomms11899-

JE Cross, G Gregori, JM Foster, P Graham, JM Bonnet-Bidaud, C Busschaert, N Charpentier, CN Danson, HW Doyle, RP Drake, J Fyrth, ET Gumbrell, M Koenig, C Krauland, CC Kuranz, B Loupias, C Michaut, M Mouchet, S Patankar, J Skidmore, C Spindloe, ER Tubman, N Woolsey, R Yurchak, É Falize

Astrophysical flows exhibit rich behaviour resulting from the interplay of different forms of energy-gravitational, thermal, magnetic and radiative. For magnetic cataclysmic variable stars, material from a late, main sequence star is pulled onto a highly magnetized (B>10 MG) white dwarf. The magnetic field is sufficiently large to direct the flow as an accretion column onto the poles of the white dwarf, a star subclass known as AM Herculis. A stationary radiative shock is expected to form 100-1,000 km above the surface of the white dwarf, far too small to be resolved with current telescopes. Here we report the results of a laboratory experiment showing the evolution of a reverse shock when both ionization and radiative losses are important. We find that the stand-off position of the shock agrees with radiation hydrodynamic simulations and is consistent, when scaled to AM Herculis star systems, with theoretical predictions.


Model experiment of magnetic field amplification in laser-produced plasmas via the Richtmyer-Meshkov instability

Physics of Plasmas 23 (2016)

Y Kuramitsu, N Ohnishi, Y Sakawa, T Morita, H Tanji, T Ide, K Nishio, CD Gregory, JN Waugh, N Booth, R Heathcote, C Murphy, G Gregori, J Smallcombe, C Barton, A Dizière, M Koenig, N Woolsey, Y Matsumoto, A Mizuta, T Sugiyama, S Matsukiyo, T Moritaka, T Sano, H Takabe

© 2016 AIP Publishing LLC.A model experiment of magnetic field amplification (MFA) via the Richtmyer-Meshkov instability (RMI) in supernova remnants (SNRs) was performed using a high-power laser. In order to account for very-fast acceleration of cosmic rays observed in SNRs, it is considered that the magnetic field has to be amplified by orders of magnitude from its background level. A possible mechanism for the MFA in SNRs is stretching and mixing of the magnetic field via the RMI when shock waves pass through dense molecular clouds in interstellar media. In order to model the astrophysical phenomenon in laboratories, there are three necessary factors for the RMI to be operative: a shock wave, an external magnetic field, and density inhomogeneity. By irradiating a double-foil target with several laser beams with focal spot displacement under influence of an external magnetic field, shock waves were excited and passed through the density inhomogeneity. Radiative hydrodynamic simulations show that the RMI evolves as the density inhomogeneity is shocked, resulting in higher MFA.


Nanosecond formation of diamond and lonsdaleite by shock compression of graphite.

Nature communications 7 (2016) 10970-

D Kraus, A Ravasio, M Gauthier, DO Gericke, J Vorberger, S Frydrych, J Helfrich, LB Fletcher, G Schaumann, B Nagler, B Barbrel, B Bachmann, EJ Gamboa, S Göde, E Granados, G Gregori, HJ Lee, P Neumayer, W Schumaker, T Döppner, RW Falcone, SH Glenzer, M Roth

The shock-induced transition from graphite to diamond has been of great scientific and technological interest since the discovery of microscopic diamonds in remnants of explosively driven graphite. Furthermore, shock synthesis of diamond and lonsdaleite, a speculative hexagonal carbon polymorph with unique hardness, is expected to happen during violent meteor impacts. Here, we show unprecedented in situ X-ray diffraction measurements of diamond formation on nanosecond timescales by shock compression of pyrolytic as well as polycrystalline graphite to pressures from 19 GPa up to 228 GPa. While we observe the transition to diamond starting at 50 GPa for both pyrolytic and polycrystalline graphite, we also record the direct formation of lonsdaleite above 170 GPa for pyrolytic samples only. Our experiment provides new insights into the processes of the shock-induced transition from graphite to diamond and uniquely resolves the dynamics that explain the main natural occurrence of the lonsdaleite crystal structure being close to meteor impact sites.


Theory of density fluctuations in strongly radiative plasmas.

Phys Rev E 93 (2016) 033201-

JE Cross, P Mabey, DO Gericke, G Gregori

Derivation of the dynamic structure factor, an important parameter linking experimental and theoretical work in dense plasmas, is possible starting from hydrodynamic equations. Here we obtain, by modifying the governing hydrodynamic equations, a new form of the dynamic structure factor which includes radiative terms. The inclusion of such terms has an effect on the structure factor at high temperatures, which suggests that its effect must be taken into consideration in such regimes.


Dynamic X-ray diffraction observation of shocked solid iron up to 170 GPa.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 113 (2016) 7745-7749

A Denoeud, N Ozaki, A Benuzzi-Mounaix, H Uranishi, Y Kondo, R Kodama, E Brambrink, A Ravasio, M Bocoum, JM Boudenne, M Harmand, F Guyot, S Mazevet, D Riley, M Makita, T Sano, Y Sakawa, Y Inubushi, G Gregori, M Koenig, G Morard

Investigation of the iron phase diagram under high pressure and temperature is crucial for the determination of the composition of the cores of rocky planets and for better understanding the generation of planetary magnetic fields. Here we present X-ray diffraction results from laser-driven shock-compressed single-crystal and polycrystalline iron, indicating the presence of solid hexagonal close-packed iron up to pressure of at least 170 GPa along the principal Hugoniot, corresponding to a temperature of 4,150 K. This is confirmed by the agreement between the pressure obtained from the measurement of the iron volume in the sample and the inferred shock strength from velocimetry deductions. Results presented in this study are of the first importance regarding pure Fe phase diagram probed under dynamic compression and can be applied to study conditions that are relevant to Earth and super-Earth cores.


Experimental measurements of the collisional absorption of XUV radiation in warm dense aluminium.

Physical review. E 94 (2016) 023203-

B Kettle, T Dzelzainis, S White, L Li, B Dromey, M Zepf, CL Lewis, G Williams, S Künzel, M Fajardo, H Dacasa, P Zeitoun, A Rigby, G Gregori, C Spindloe, R Heathcote, D Riley

The collisional (or free-free) absorption of soft x rays in warm dense aluminium remains an unsolved problem. Competing descriptions of the process exist, two of which we compare to our experimental data here. One of these is based on a weak scattering model, another uses a corrected classical approach. These two models show distinctly different behaviors with temperature. Here we describe experimental evidence for the absorption of 26-eV photons in solid density warm aluminium (T_{e}≈1 eV). Radiative x-ray heating from palladium-coated CH foils was used to create the warm dense aluminium samples and a laser-driven high-harmonic beam from an argon gas jet provided the probe. The results indicate little or no change in absorption upon heating. This behavior is in agreement with the prediction of the corrected classical approach, although there is not agreement in absolute absorption value. Verifying the correct absorption mechanism is decisive in providing a better understanding of the complex behavior of the warm dense state.


Theory of Thomson scattering in inhomogeneous media.

Scientific reports 6 (2016) 24283-

PM Kozlowski, BJ Crowley, DO Gericke, SP Regan, G Gregori

Thomson scattering of laser light is one of the most fundamental diagnostics of plasma density, temperature and magnetic fields. It relies on the assumption that the properties in the probed volume are homogeneous and constant during the probing time. On the other hand, laboratory plasmas are seldom uniform and homogeneous on the temporal and spatial dimensions over which data is collected. This is particularly true for laser-produced high-energy-density matter, which often exhibits steep gradients in temperature, density and pressure, on a scale determined by the laser focus. Here, we discuss the modification of the cross section for Thomson scattering in fully-ionized media exhibiting steep spatial inhomogeneities and/or fast temporal fluctuations. We show that the predicted Thomson scattering spectra are greatly altered compared to the uniform case, and may lead to violations of detailed balance. Therefore, careful interpretation of the spectra is necessary for spatially or temporally inhomogeneous systems.


Observation of magnetic field generation via the Weibel instability in interpenetrating plasma flows

NATURE PHYSICS 11 (2015) 173-176

CM Huntington, F Fiuza, JS Ross, AB Zylstra, RP Drake, DH Froula, G Gregori, NL Kugland, CC Kuranz, MC Levy, CK Li, J Meinecke, T Morita, R Petrasso, C Plechaty, BA Remington, DD Ryutov, Y Sakawa, A Spitkovsky, H Takabe, H-S Park


Electron-ion temperature equilibration in warm dense tantalum

HIGH ENERGY DENSITY PHYSICS 14 (2015) 1-5

NJ Hartley, P Belancourt, DA Chapman, T Doeppner, RP Drake, DO Gericke, SH Glenzer, D Khaghani, S LePape, T Ma, P Neumayer, A Pak, L Peters, S Richardson, J Vorberger, TG White, G Gregori


Investigation of the solid-liquid phase transition of carbon at 150 GPa with spectrally resolved X-ray scattering

HIGH ENERGY DENSITY PHYSICS 14 (2015) 38-43

J Helfrich, D Kraus, A Ortner, S Frydrych, G Schaumann, NJ Hartley, G Gregori, B Kettle, D Riley, DC Carroll, MM Notley, C Spindloe, M Roth


Evidence of locally enhanced target heating due to instabilities of counter-streaming fast electron beams

PHYSICS OF PLASMAS 22 (2015) ARTN 020701

P Koester, N Booth, CA Cecchetti, H Chen, RG Evans, G Gregori, L Labate, T Levato, B Li, M Makita, J Mithen, CD Murphy, M Notley, R Pattathil, D Riley, N Woolsey, LA Gizzi

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