EAS Publications Series 58 (2012) 23-26
Magnetic field generation in the Universe is still an open problem. Possible mechanisms involve the Weibel instability, due to anisotropic phase-space distributions, as well as the Biermann battery, due to misaligned density and temperature gradients. These mechanisms can be reproduced in scaled laboratory experiments. In this contribution we estimate the relative importance of these two processes and explore the laser-energy requirements for producing Weibel dominated shocks. © The Author(s) 2013.
40th EPS Conference on Plasma Physics, EPS 2013 2 (2013) 850-853
EPJ Web of Conferences 59 (2013)
A collisionless Weibel-instability mediated shock in a self-generated magnetic field is studied using two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulation [Kato and Takabe, Astophys. J. Lett. 681, L93 (2008)]. It is predicted that the generation of the Weibel shock requires to use NIF-class high-power laser system. Collisionless electrostatic shocks are produced in counter-streaming plasmas using Gekko XII laser system [Kuramitsu et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 175002 (2011)]. A NIF facility time proposal is approved to study the formation of the collisionless Weibel shock. OMEGA and OMEGA EP experiments have been started to study the plasma conditions of counter-streaming plasmas required for the NIF experiment using Thomson scattering and to develop proton radiography diagnostics. © Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2013.
Physical review letters 109 (2012) 015001-
This Letter describes the first experimental demonstration of the guiding of a relativistic electron beam in a solid target using two colinear, relativistically intense, picosecond laser pulses. The first pulse creates a magnetic field that guides the higher-current, fast-electron beam generated by the second pulse. The effects of intensity ratio, delay, total energy, and intrinsic prepulse are examined. Thermal and Kα imaging show reduced emission size, increased peak emission, and increased total emission at delays of 4-6 ps, an intensity ratio of 10∶1 (second:first) and a total energy of 186 J. In comparison to a single, high-contrast shot, the inferred fast-electron divergence is reduced by 2.7 times, while the fast-electron current density is increased by a factor of 1.8. The enhancements are reproduced with modeling and are shown to be due to the self-generation of magnetic fields. Such a scheme could be of considerable benefit to fast-ignition inertial fusion.
Journal of Instrumentation 7 (2012)
We have developed an easy-to-use and reliable timing tool to determine the arrival time of an optical laser and a free electron laser (FEL) pulses within the jitter limitation. This timing tool can be used from XUV to X-rays and exploits high FELs intensities. It uses a shadowgraph technique where we optically (at 800 nm) image a plasma created by an intense XUV or X-ray FEL pulse on a transparent sample (glass slide) directly placed at the pump - probe sample position. It is based on the physical principle that the optical properties of the material are drastically changed when its free electron density reaches the critical density. At this point the excited glass sample becomes opaque to the optical laser pulse. The ultra-short and intense XUV or X-ray FEL pulse ensures that a critical electron density can be reached via photoionization and subsequent collisional ionization within the XUV or X-ray FEL pulse duration or even faster. This technique allows to determine the relative arrival time between the optical laser and the FEL pulses in only few single shots with an accuracy mainly limited by the optical laser pulse duration and the jitter between the FEL and the optical laser. Considering the major interest in pump-probe experiments at FEL facilities in general, such a femtosecond resolution timing tool is of utmost importance. © 2012 IOP Publishing Ltd and Sissa Medialab srl.
Characterizing counter-streaming interpenetrating plasmas relevant to astrophysical collisionless shocks
Physics of Plasmas 19 (2012)
A series of Omega experiments have produced and characterized high velocity counter-streaming plasma flows relevant for the creation of collisionless shocks. Single and double CH2 foils have been irradiated with a laser intensity of ∼ 1016 W/cm2. The laser ablated plasma was characterized 4 mm from the foil surface using Thomson scattering. A peak plasma flow velocity of 2000 km/s, an electron temperature of ∼ 110 eV, an ion temperature of ∼ 30 eV, and a density of ∼ 1018 cm -3 were measured in the single foil configuration. Significant increases in electron and ion temperatures were seen in the double foil geometry. The measured single foil plasma conditions were used to calculate the ion skin depth, c/ωpi ∼ 0.16 mm, the interaction length, lint, of ∼ 8 mm, and the Coulomb mean free path, λmfp ∼ 27 mm. With c/ωpi ≪ l int ≪λmfp, we are in a regime where collisionless shock formation is possible. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.
Nanosecond white-light Laue diffraction measurements of dislocation microstructure in shock-compressed single-crystal copper.
Nat Commun 3 (2012) 1224-
Under uniaxial high-stress shock compression it is believed that crystalline materials undergo complex, rapid, micro-structural changes to relieve the large applied shear stresses. Diagnosing the underlying mechanisms involved remains a significant challenge in the field of shock physics, and is critical for furthering our understanding of the fundamental lattice-level physics, and for the validation of multi-scale models of shock compression. Here we employ white-light X-ray Laue diffraction on a nanosecond timescale to make the first in situ observations of the stress relaxation mechanism in a laser-shocked crystal. The measurements were made on single-crystal copper, shocked along the  axis to peak stresses of order 50 GPa. The results demonstrate the presence of stress-dependent lattice rotations along specific crystallographic directions. The orientation of the rotations suggests that there is double slip on conjugate systems. In this model, the rotation magnitudes are consistent with defect densities of order 10(12) cm(-2).
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.
Physical Review Letters 109 (2012)
The x-ray intensities made available by x-ray free electron lasers (FEL) open up new x-ray matter interaction channels not accessible with previous sources. We report here on the resonant generation of Kα emission, that is to say the production of copious Kα radiation by tuning the x-ray FEL pulse to photon energies below that of the K edge of a solid aluminum sample. The sequential absorption of multiple photons in the same atom during the 80 fs pulse, with photons creating L-shell holes and then one resonantly exciting a K-shell electron into one of these holes, opens up a channel for the Kα production, as well as the absorption of further photons. We demonstrate rich spectra of such channels, and investigate the emission produced by tuning the FEL energy to the K-L transitions of those highly charged ions that have transition energies below the K edge of the cold material. The spectra are sensitive to x-ray intensity dependent opacity effects, with ions containing L-shell holes readily reabsorbing the Kα radiation. © 2012 American Physical Society.
Comparative merits of the memory function and dynamic local-field correction of the classical one-component plasma
PHYSICAL REVIEW E 85 (2012) ARTN 056407
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. © 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.
AIP Conference Proceedings 1426 (2012) 975-978
The lattice level strain measured using in situ x-ray diffraction during shock compression of rolled iron foils is used along with the pressure dependent elastic constants to estimate the dynamic strength of 1±1 GPa at 15 GPa. We examine these results in the context of the constant stress (Voigt) and constant strain (Ruess) limit of grain interaction, discussing the implications at the lattice level. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.