Strength of Shock-Loaded Single-Crystal Tantalum  Determined using in Situ Broadband X-Ray Laue Diffraction
Physical Review Letters 110 (2013)
The strength of shock-loaded single crystal tantalum  has been experimentally determined using in situ broadband x-ray Laue diffraction to measure the strain state of the compressed crystal, and elastic constants calculated from first principles. The inferred strength reaches 35 GPa at a shock pressure of 181 GPa and is in excellent agreement with a multiscale strength model, which employs a hierarchy of simulation methods over a range of length scales to calculate strength from first principles. © 2013 American Physical Society.
Measuring fast electron spectra and laser absorption in relativistic laser-solid interactions using differential bremsstrahlung photon detectors.
The Review of scientific instruments 84 (2013) 083505-
A photon detector suitable for the measurement of bremsstrahlung spectra generated in relativistically intense laser-solid interactions is described. The Monte Carlo techniques used to extract the fast electron spectrum and laser energy absorbed into forward-going fast electrons are detailed. A relativistically intense laser-solid experiment using frequency doubled laser light is used to demonstrate the effective operation of the detector. The experimental data were interpreted using the 3-spatial-dimension Monte Carlo code MCNPX [D. Pelowitz, MCNPX User's Manual Version 2.6.0, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 2008], and the fast electron temperature found to be 125 keV.
Nuclear Fusion 53 (2013)
One of the most advanced fast ignition programmes is the fast ignition realization experiment (FIREX). The goal of its first phase is to demonstrate ignition temperature of 5 keV, followed by the second phase to demonstrate ignition-and-burn. The second series experiment of FIREX-I, from late 2010 to early 2011, has demonstrated a high (>10%) coupling efficiency from laser to thermal energy of the compressed core, suggesting that the ignition temperature can be achieved at laser energy below 10 kJ. Further improvement of the coupling efficiency is expected by introducing laser-driven magnetic fields. © 2013 IAEA, Vienna.
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.
Nature Physics 8 (2012) 809-812
Self-organization occurs in plasmas when energy progressively transfers from smaller to larger scales in an inverse cascade. Global structures that emerge from turbulent plasmas can be found in the laboratory and in astrophysical settings; for example, the cosmic magnetic field, collisionless shocks in supernova remnants and the internal structures of newly formed stars known as Herbig-Haro objects. Here we show that large, stable electromagnetic field structures can also arise within counter-streaming supersonic plasmas in the laboratory. These surprising structures, formed by a yet unexplained mechanism, are predominantly oriented transverse to the primary flow direction, extend for much larger distances than the intrinsic plasma spatial scales and persist for much longer than the plasma kinetic timescales. Our results challenge existing models of counter-streaming plasmas and can be used to better understand large-scale and long-time plasma self-organization. © 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.
Physical Review Letters 109 (2012)
The Fermi-degenerate plasma conditions created in liquid deuterium by a laser-ablation - driven shock wave were probed with noncollective, spectrally resolved, inelastic x-ray Thomson scattering employing Cl Lyα line emission at 2.96 keV. These first x-ray Thomson scattering measurements of the microscopic properties of shocked deuterium show an inferred spatially averaged electron temperature of 8±5 eV, an electron density of 2.2(±0.5)×1023 cm-3, and an ionization of 0.8 (-0.25, +0.15). Two-dimensional hydrodynamic simulations using equation-of-state models suited for the extreme parameters occurring in inertial confinement fusion research and planetary interiors are consistent with the experimental results. © 2012 American Physical Society.
Review of Scientific Instruments 83 (2012)
We investigated various diagnostic techniques to measure the 511 keV annihilation radiations. These include step-wedge filters, transmission crystal spectroscopy, single-hit CCD detectors, and streaked scintillating detection. While none of the diagnostics recorded conclusive results, the step-wedge filter that is sensitive to the energy range between 100 keV and 700 keV shows a signal around 500 keV that is clearly departing from a pure Bremsstrahlung spectrum and that we ascribe to annihilation radiation. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.
Testing quantum mechanics in non-Minkowski space-time with high power lasers and 4(th) generation light sources.
Scientific reports 2 (2012) 491-
A common misperception of quantum gravity is that it requires accessing energies up to the Planck scale of 10¹⁹ GeV, which is unattainable from any conceivable particle collider. Thanks to the development of ultra-high intensity optical lasers, very large accelerations can be now the reached at their focal spot, thus mimicking, by virtue of the equivalence principle, a non Minkowski space-time. Here we derive a semiclassical extension of quantum mechanics that applies to different metrics, but under the assumption of weak gravity. We use our results to show that Thomson scattering of photons by uniformly accelerated electrons predicts an observable effect depending upon acceleration and local metric. In the laboratory frame, a broadening of the Thomson scattered x ray light from a fourth generation light source can be used to detect the modification of the metric associated to electrons accelerated in the field of a high power optical laser.
Physical Review Letters 108 (2012)
X-ray Thomson scattering has enabled us to measure the temperature of a shocked layer, produced in the laboratory, that is relevant to shocks emerging from supernovas. High energy lasers are used to create a shock in argon gas which is probed by x-ray scattering. The scattered, inelastic Compton feature allows inference of the electron temperature. It is measured to be 34 eV in the radiative precursor and ∼60eV near the shock. Comparison of energy fluxes implied by the data demonstrates that the shock wave is strongly radiative. © 2012 American Physical Society.
Astrophysical Journal 749 (2012)
The subject of this paper is the design of practical laser experiments that can produce collisionless shocks mediated by the Weibel instability. Such shocks may be important in a wide range of astrophysical systems. Three issues are considered. The first issue is the implications of the fact that such experiments will produce expanding flows that are approximately homologous. As a result, both the velocity and the density of the interpenetrating plasma streams will be time dependent. The second issue is the implications of the linear theory of the Weibel instability. For the experiments, the instability is in a regime where standard simplifications do not apply. It appears feasible but non-trivial to obtain adequate growth. The third issue is collisionality. The need to keep resistive magnetic-field dissipation small enough implies that the plasmas should not be allowed to cool substantially. © 2012. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Nature 481 (2012) 480-483
The standard model for the origin of galactic magnetic fields is through the amplification of seed fields via dynamo or turbulent processes to the level consistent with present observations. Although other mechanisms may also operate, currents from misaligned pressure and temperature gradients (the Biermann battery process) inevitably accompany the formation of galaxies in the absence of a primordial field. Driven by geometrical asymmetries in shocks associated with the collapse of protogalactic structures, the Biermann battery is believed to generate tiny seed fields to a level of about 10(-21) gauss (refs 7, 8). With the advent of high-power laser systems in the past two decades, a new area of research has opened in which, using simple scaling relations, astrophysical environments can effectively be reproduced in the laboratory. Here we report the results of an experiment that produced seed magnetic fields by the Biermann battery effect. We show that these results can be scaled to the intergalactic medium, where turbulence, acting on timescales of around 700 million years, can amplify the seed fields sufficiently to affect galaxy evolution.
High Energy Density Physics 8 (2012) 46-49
We present measurements of the changes in the microscopic structure of graphite in a laser-driven shock experiment with X-ray scattering. Laser radiation with intensities of ∼2 × 10 13 W/cm 2 compressed the carbon samples by a factor of two reaching pressures of ∼90 GPa. Due to the change of the crystalline structure the scattered signals of the probe radiation were modified significantly in intensity and spectral composition compared to the scattering on cold samples. It is shown that the elastic scattering on tightly bound electrons increases strongly due to the phase transition whereas the inelastic scattering on weakly bound electrons remains nearly unchanged for the chosen geometry. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion 54 (2012)
We report our recent efforts on the experimental investigations related to the origins of cosmic rays. The origins of cosmic rays are long standing open issues in astrophysics. The galactic and extragalactic cosmic rays are considered to be accelerated in non-relativistic and relativistic collisionless shocks in the universe, respectively. However, the acceleration and transport processes of the cosmic rays are not well understood, and how the collisionless shocks are created is still under investigation. Recent high-power and high-intensity laser technologies allow us to simulate astrophysical phenomena in laboratories. We present our experimental results of collisionless shock formations in laser-produced plasmas. © 2012 IOP Publishing Ltd.
Sci Rep 2 (2012) 889-
Creating non-equilibrium states of matter with highly unequal electron and lattice temperatures (T(ele)≠T(ion)) allows unsurpassed insight into the dynamic coupling between electrons and ions through time-resolved energy relaxation measurements. Recent studies on low-temperature laser-heated graphite suggest a complex energy exchange when compared to other materials. To avoid problems related to surface preparation, crystal quality and poor understanding of the energy deposition and transport mechanisms, we apply a different energy deposition mechanism, via laser-accelerated protons, to isochorically and non-radiatively heat macroscopic graphite samples up to temperatures close to the melting threshold. Using time-resolved x ray diffraction, we show clear evidence of a very small electron-ion energy transfer, yielding approximately three times longer relaxation times than previously reported. This is indicative of the existence of an energy transfer bottleneck in non-equilibrium warm dense matter.
XUV spectroscopic characterization of warm dense aluminum plasmas generated by the free-electron-laser FLASH
Laser and Particle Beams 30 (2012) 45-56
We report on experiments aimed at the generation and characterization of solid density plasmas at the free-electron laser FLASH in Hamburg. Aluminum samples were irradiated with XUV pulses at 13.5 nm wavelength (92 eV photon energy). The pulses with duration of a few tens of femtoseconds and pulse energy up to 100 μJ are focused to intensities ranging between 10 13 and 10 17 W/cm 2. We investigate the absorption and temporal evolution of the sample under irradiation by use of XUV and optical spectroscopy. We discuss the origin of saturable absorption, radiative decay, bremsstrahlung and atomic and ionic line emission. Our experimental results are in good agreement with simulations. © 2012 Cambridge University Press.
CONTRIBUTIONS TO PLASMA PHYSICS 52 (2012) 58-61
Revealing multiphoton resonant ionization in solid density plasmas with an x-ray free electron laser
2012 Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, CLEO 2012 (2012)
Interaction of intense x-ray and solid density Al plasma is studied via K-shell emission spectroscopy. A high fluence, high-intensity x-ray pulse from an x-ray free-electron laser unveils multiphoton ionization pathway and drives hidden resonances. © 2012 OSA.
AIP Conference Proceedings 1438 (2012) 61-64
We report on experiments aimed at the generation and characterization of solid density plasmas at the free-electron laser FLASH in Hamburg. Aluminum samples were irradiated with XUV pulses at 13.5 nm wavelength (92 eV photon energy). The pulses with duration of a few tens of femtoseconds and pulse energy up to 100 μJ are focused to intensities ranging from 10 13 to 10 17 W/cm 2. We investigate the absorption and temporal evolution of the sample under irradiation by use of XUV spectroscopy. We discuss the origin of saturable absorption, radiative decay, bremsstrahlung and ionic line emission. Our experimental results are in good agreement with hydrodynamic simulations. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.
AIP Conference Proceedings 1462 (2012) 149-154
A review of the proton radiography technique will be presented. This technique employs laser-accelerated laminar bunches of protons to diagnose the temporal and spatial characteristic of the electric and magnetic fields generated during high-intensity laser-plasma interactions. The remarkable temporal and spatial resolution that this technique can achieve (of the order of a picosecond and a few microns respectively) candidates this technique as the preferrable one, if compared to other techniques, to probe high intensity laser-matterinteractions. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.