Publications


X-ray polarization measurements of dense plasmas heated by fast electrons

AIP Conference Proceedings 1228 (2010) 79-85

N Booth, RJ Clarke, P Gallegos, LA Gizzi, G Gregori, P Koester, L Labate, T Levato, B Li, M Makita, J Pasley, PP Rajeev, D Riley, E Wagenaars, JN Waugh, NC Woolsey

The detailed knowledge of fast electron energy transport following interaction with high-intensity, ultra-short laser pulses is a key area for secondary source generation for ELI. We demonstrate polarization spectroscopy at laser intensities up to 1021 Wcm-2. This is significant as it suggests that in situ emission spectroscopy may be used as an effective probe of fast electron velocity distributions in regimes relevant to electron transport in solid targets. Ly-α doublet emission of nickel (Z = 28) and sulphur (Z = 16) is observed to measure the degree of polarization from the Ly-α1 emission. Ly-α2 emission is unpolarized, and as such acts as a calibration source between spectrometers. The measured ratio of the X-ray σ-and π-polarization allows the possibility to infer the velocity distribution function of the fast electron beam. © 2010 American Institute of Physics.


Ultrafast melting of carbon induced by intense proton beams

Physical Review Letters 105 (2010)

A Pelka, G Gregori, DO Gericke, J Vorberger, SH Glenzer, MM Günther, K Harres, R Heathcote, AL Kritcher, NL Kugland, B Li, M Makita, J Mithen, D Neely, C Niemann, A Otten, D Riley, G Schaumann, M Schollmeier, A Tauschwitz, M Roth

Laser-produced proton beams have been used to achieve ultrafast volumetric heating of carbon samples at solid density. The isochoric melting of carbon was probed by a scattering of x rays from a secondary laser-produced plasma. From the scattering signal, we have deduced the fraction of the material that was melted by the inhomogeneous heating. The results are compared to different theoretical approaches for the equation of state which suggests modifications from standard models. © 2010 The American Physical Society.


X-ray polarization spectroscopy from ultra-intense interactions

Journal of Physics: Conference Series 244 (2010)

N Booth, R Clarke, P Gallegos, L Gizzi, G Gregori, P Koester, L Labate, T Levato, B Li, M Makita, J Pasley, PP Rajeev, D Riley, E Wagenaars, JN Waugh, NC Woolsey

Detailed knowledge of fast electron energy transport following the interaction of ultrashort intense laser pulses is a key subject for fast ignition. This is a problem relevant to many areas of laser-plasma physics with particular importance to fast ignition and X-ray secondary source development, necessary for the development of large-scale facilities such as HiPER and ELI. Operating two orthogonal crystal spectrometers set at Bragg angles close to 45° determines the X-ray s- and p- polarization ratio. From this ratio, it is possible to infer the velocity distribution function of the fast electron beam within the dense plasma. We report on results of polarization measurements at high density for sulphur and nickel buried layer targets in the high intensity range of 1019 - 1021 Wcm-2. We observe at 45° the Ly-α doublet using two sets of orthogonal highly-orientated pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) crystals set in 1st order for sulphur and 3rd order for nickel. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.


Electronic structure of an XUV photogenerated solid-density aluminum plasma.

Phys Rev Lett 104 (2010) 225001-

SM Vinko, U Zastrau, S Mazevet, J Andreasson, S Bajt, T Burian, J Chalupsky, HN Chapman, J Cihelka, D Doria, T Döppner, S Düsterer, T Dzelzainis, RR Fäustlin, C Fortmann, E Förster, E Galtier, SH Glenzer, S Göde, G Gregori, J Hajdu, V Hajkova, PA Heimann, R Irsig, L Juha, M Jurek, J Krzywinski, T Laarmann, HJ Lee, RW Lee, B Li, KH Meiwes-Broer, JP Mithen, B Nagler, AJ Nelson, A Przystawik, R Redmer, D Riley, F Rosmej, R Sobierajski, F Tavella, R Thiele, J Tiggesbäumker, S Toleikis, T Tschentscher, L Vysin, TJ Whitcher, S White, JS Wark

By use of high intensity XUV radiation from the FLASH free-electron laser at DESY, we have created highly excited exotic states of matter in solid-density aluminum samples. The XUV intensity is sufficiently high to excite an inner-shell electron from a large fraction of the atoms in the focal region. We show that soft-x-ray emission spectroscopy measurements reveal the electronic temperature and density of this highly excited system immediately after the excitation pulse, with detailed calculations of the electronic structure, based on finite-temperature density functional theory, in good agreement with the experimental results.


Bragg diffraction using a 100 ps 17.5 keV x-ray backlighter and the Bragg diffraction imager

REVIEW OF SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS 81 (2010)

BR Maddox, H-S Park, J Hawreliak, A Elsholz, R Van Maren, BA Remington, A Comley, JS Wark


Laser-driven fast electron collimation in targets with resistivity boundary

Physical Review Letters 105 (2010)

B Ramakrishna, S Kar, APL Robinson, DJ Adams, K Markey, MN Quinn, XH Yuan, P McKenna, KL Lancaster, JS Green, RHH Scott, PA Norreys, J Schreiber, M Zepf

We demonstrate experimentally that the relativistic electron flow in a dense plasma can be efficiently confined and guided in targets exhibiting a high-resistivity-core-low-resistivity-cladding structure analogous to optical waveguides. The relativistic electron beam is shown to be confined to an area of the order of the core diameter (50μm), which has the potential to substantially enhance the coupling efficiency of electrons to the compressed fusion fuel in the Fast Ignitor fusion in full-scale fusion experiments. © 2010 The American Physical Society.


Relativistic quasimonoenergetic positron jets from intense laser-solid interactions.

Phys Rev Lett 105 (2010) 015003-

H Chen, SC Wilks, DD Meyerhofer, J Bonlie, CD Chen, SN Chen, C Courtois, L Elberson, G Gregori, W Kruer, O Landoas, J Mithen, J Myatt, CD Murphy, P Nilson, D Price, M Schneider, R Shepherd, C Stoeckl, M Tabak, R Tommasini, P Beiersdorfer

Detailed angle and energy resolved measurements of positrons ejected from the back of a gold target that was irradiated with an intense picosecond duration laser pulse reveal that the positrons are ejected in a collimated relativistic jet. The laser-positron energy conversion efficiency is ∼2×10{-4}. The jets have ∼20 degree angular divergence and the energy distributions are quasimonoenergetic with energy of 4 to 20 MeV and a beam temperature of ∼1  MeV. The sheath electric field on the surface of the target is shown to determine the positron energy. The positron angular and energy distribution is controlled by varying the sheath field, through the laser conditions and target geometry.


Screening of ionic cores in partially ionized plasmas within linear response

Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics 81 (2010)

DO Gericke, J Vorberger, K Wünsch, G Gregori

We employ a pseudopotential approach to investigate the screening of ionic cores in partially ionized plasmas. Here, the effect of the tightly bound electrons is condensed into an effective potential between the (free) valence electrons and the ionic cores. Even for weak electron-ion coupling, the corresponding screening clouds show strong modifications from the Debye result for elements heavier than helium. Modifications of the theoretically predicted x-ray scattering signal and implications on measurements are discussed. © 2010 The American Physical Society.


Soft X-ray scattering using FEL radiation for probing near-solid density plasmas at few electron volt temperatures

High Energy Density Physics 6 (2010) 15-20

S Toleikis, RR Fäustlin, L Cao, T Döppner, S Düsterer, E Förster, C Fortmann, SH Glenzer, S Göde, G Gregori, R Irsig, T Laarmann, HJ Lee, B Li, J Mithen, K-H Meiwes-Broer, A Przystawik, P Radcliffe, R Redmer, F Tavella, R Thiele, J Tiggesbäumker, NX Truong, I Uschmann, U Zastrau, T Tschentscher

We report on soft X-ray scattering experiments on cryogenic hydrogen and simple metal samples. As a source of intense, ultrashort soft X-ray pulses we have used free-electron laser radiation at 92 eV photon energy from FLASH at DESY, Hamburg. X-ray pulses with energies up to 150 μJ and durations 15-50 fs provide interaction with the sample leading simultaneously to plasma formation and scattering. Experiments exploiting both of these interactions have been carried out, using the same experimental setup. Firstly, recording of soft X-ray inelastic scattering from near-solid density hydrogen plasmas at few electron volt temperatures confirms the feasibility of this diagnostics technique. Secondly, the soft X-ray excitation of few electron volt solid-density plasmas in bulk metal samples could be studied by recording soft X-ray line and continuum emission integrated over emission times from fs to ns. © 2009 Elsevier B.V.


The strength of single crystal copper under uniaxial shock compression at 100 GPa.

J Phys Condens Matter 22 (2010) 065404-

WJ Murphy, A Higginbotham, G Kimminau, B Barbrel, EM Bringa, J Hawreliak, R Kodama, M Koenig, W McBarron, MA Meyers, B Nagler, N Ozaki, N Park, B Remington, S Rothman, SM Vinko, T Whitcher, JS Wark

In situ x-ray diffraction has been used to measure the shear strain (and thus strength) of single crystal copper shocked to 100 GPa pressures at strain rates over two orders of magnitude higher than those achieved previously. For shocks in the [001] direction there is a significant associated shear strain, while shocks in the [111] direction give negligible shear strain. We infer, using molecular dynamics simulations and VISAR (standing for 'velocity interferometer system for any reflector') measurements, that the strength of the material increases dramatically (to approximately 1 GPa) for these extreme strain rates.


Plasma emission spectroscopy of solids irradiated by intense XUV pulses from a free electron laser

High Energy Density Physics 6 (2010) 109-112

TWJ Dzelzainis, J Chalupsky, M Fajardo, R Fäustlin, PA Heimann, V Hajkova, L Juha, M Jurek, FY Khattak, M Kozlova, J Krzywinski, RW Lee, B Nagler, AJ Nelson, FB Rosmej, R Soberierski, S Toleikis, T Tschentscher, SM Vinko, JS Wark, T Whitcher, D Riley

The FLASH XUV-free electron laser has been used to irradiate solid samples at intensities of the order 1016 W cm-2 at a wavelength of 13.5 nm. The subsequent time integrated XUV emission was observed with a grating spectrometer. The electron temperature inferred from plasma line ratios was in the range 5-8 eV with electron density in the range 1021-1022 cm-3. These results are consistent with the saturation of absorption through bleaching of the L-edge by intense photo-absorption reported in an earlier publication. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Probing near-solid density plasmas using soft x-ray scattering

Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics 43 (2010)

S Toleikis, T Bornath, T Döppner, S Düsterer, RR Fäustlin, E Förster, C Fortmann, SH Glenzer, S Göde, G Gregori, R Irsig, T Laarmann, HJ Lee, B Li, K-H Meiwes-Broer, J Mithen, B Nagler, A Przystawik, P Radcliffe, H Redlin, R Redmer, H Reinholz, G Röpke, F Tavella, R Thiele, J Tiggesbäumker, I Uschmann, SM Vinko, T Whitcher, U Zastrau, B Ziaja, T Tschentscher

X-ray scattering using highly brilliant x-ray free-electron laser (FEL) radiation provides new access to probe free-electron density, temperature and ionization in near-solid density plasmas. First experiments at the soft x-ray FEL FLASH at DESY, Hamburg, show the capabilities of this technique. The ultrashort FEL pulses in particular can probe equilibration phenomena occurring after excitation of the plasma using ultrashort optical laser pumping. We have investigated liquid hydrogen and find that the interaction of very intense soft x-ray FEL radiation alone heats the sample volume. As the plasma establishes, photons from the same pulse undergo scattering, thus probing the transient, warm dense matter state. We find a free-electron density of (2.6 ± 0.2) × 1020 cm-3 and an electron temperature of 14 ± 3.5 eV. In pump-probe experiments, using intense optical laser pulses to generate more extreme states of matter, this interaction of the probe pulse has to be considered in the interpretation of scattering data. In this paper, we present details of the experimental setup at FLASH and the diagnostic methods used to quantitatively analyse the data. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.


New developments in energy transfer and transport studies in relativistic laser-plasma interactions

Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion 52 (2010)

PA Norreys, JS Green, KL Lancaster, APL Robinson, RHH Scott, F Perez, H-P Schlenvoight, S Baton, S Hulin, B Vauzour, JJ Santos, DJ Adams, K Markey, B Ramakrishna, M Zepf, MN Quinn, XH Yuan, P McKenna, J Schreiber, JR Davies, DP Higginson, FN Beg, C Chen, T Ma, P Patel

Two critical issues related to the success of fast ignition inertial fusion have been vigorously investigated in a co-ordinated campaign in the European Union and the United States. These are the divergence of the fast electron beam generated in intense, PW laser-plasma interactions and the fast electron energy transport with the use of high intensity contrast ratio laser pulses. Proof is presented that resistivity gradient-induced magnetic fields can guide fast electrons over significant distances in (initially) cold metallic targets. Comparison of experiments undertaken in both France and the United States suggests that an important factor in obtaining efficient coupling into dense plasma is the irradiation with high intensity contrast ratio laser pulses, rather than the colour of the laser pulse itself. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.


Electron energy deposition to the fusion target core for fast ignition

Journal of Physics: Conference Series 244 (2010)

WM Wang, ZM Sheng, PA Norreys, M Sherlock, R Trines, APL Robinson, YT Li, B Hao, J Zhang

Heating of the target core for fast ignition by electron beams is investigated by two-dimensional collisional particle-in-cell simulations. It is found that the electron beams emitted from the core surface with the initial energy of 1.4MeV, 2.4MeV, and 4.2MeV can heat most efficiently the core with ρr = 0.75g/cm2, 1.5g/cm2, and 3g/cm2, respectively, when taking ρ 300g/cm3, where ρ and r are the mass density and radius of the core, respectively. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.


Observation of postsoliton expansion following laser propagation through an underdense plasma

Physical Review Letters 105 (2010)

G Sarri, DK Singh, JR Davies, F Fiuza, KL Lancaster, EL Clark, S Hassan, J Jiang, N Kageiwa, N Lopes, A Rehman, C Russo, RHH Scott, T Tanimoto, Z Najmudin, KA Tanaka, M Tatarakis, M Borghesi, PA Norreys

The expansion of electromagnetic postsolitons emerging from the interaction of a 30? ps, 3×1018Wcm⊃-2 laser pulse with an underdense deuterium plasma has been observed up to 100? ps after the pulse propagation, when large numbers of postsolitons were seen to remain in the plasma. The temporal evolution of the postsolitons has been accurately characterized with a high spatial and temporal resolution. The observed expansion is compared to analytical models and three-dimensional particle-in-cell results, revealing a polarization dependence of the postsoliton dynamics. © 2010 The American Physical Society.


Hot electron generation and transport using Kα emission

Journal of Physics: Conference Series 244 (2010)

KU Akli, RB Stephens, MH Key, T Bartal, FN Beg, S Chawla, CD Chen, R Fedosejevs, RR Freeman, H Friesen, E Giraldez, JS Green, DS Hey, DP Higginson, J Hund, LC Jarrott, GE Kemp, JA King, A Kryger, K Lancaster, S Lepape, A Link, T Ma, AJ MacKinnon, AG MacPhee, HS McLean, C Murphy, PA Norreys, V Ovchinnikov, PK Patel, Y Ping, H Sawada, D Schumacher, W Theobald, YY Tsui, LD Van Woerkom, MS Wei, B Westover, T Yabuuchi

We have conducted experiments on both the Vulcan and Titan laser facilities to study hot electron generation and transport in the context of fast ignition. Cu wires attached to Al cones were used to investigate the effect on coupling efficiency of plasma surround and the pre-formed plasma inside the cone. We found that with thin cones 15% of laser energy is coupled to the 40μm diameter wire emulating a 40μm fast ignition spot. Thick cone walls, simulating plasma in fast ignition, reduce coupling by x4. An increase of pre-pulse level inside the cone by a factor of 50 reduces coupling by a factor of 3. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.


Electron trapping and acceleration on a downward density ramp: A two-stage approach

New Journal of Physics 12 (2010)

RMGM Trines, R Bingham, Z Najmudin, S Mangles, LO Silva, R Fonseca, PA Norreys

In a recent experiment at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Geddes et al 2008 Phys. Rev. Lett. 100 215004), electron bunches with about 1 MeV mean energy and small absolute energy spread (about 0.3 MeV) were produced by plasma wave breaking on a downward density ramp. It was then speculated that such a bunch might be accelerated further in a plasma of low constant density, while mostly preserving its small absolute energy spread. This would then lead to a bunch with a high mean energy and very low relative energy spread. In this paper, trapping of a low-energy, low-spread electron bunch on a downward density ramp, followed by acceleration in a constant-density plasma, has been explored through particle-in-cell simulations. It has been found that the scheme works best when it is used as a separate injection stage for a laserwakefield accelerator, where the injection and acceleration stages are separated by a vacuum gap. © IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.


Design of the 10 PW OPCPA facility for the Vulcan laser

Lasers and Electro-Optics/Quantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference: 2010 Laser Science to Photonic Applications, CLEO/QELS 2010 (2010)

I Musgrave, O Chekhlov, J Collier, R Clarke, A Dunne, S Hancock, R Heathcote, C Hernandez-Gomez, M Galimberti, A Lyachev, P Matousek, D Neely, P Norreys, I Ross, Y Tang, T Winstone, G New

We present the progress made in developing IOPW OPCPA facility for the Vulcan laser to produce pulses with focused intensities >1023 Wcm-2. This power level will be delivered by generating pulses with >300J in 30fs. These pulses will be delivered to two target areas: in one target area they will be combined with the existing Vulcan Petawatt beamline and a new target area will be created for high intensity interactions. © 2010 Optical Society of America.


The Vulcan 10 PW project

Journal of Physics: Conference Series 244 (2010)

C Hernandez-Gomez, SP Blake, O Chekhlov, RJ Clarke, AM Dunne, M Galimberti, S Hancock, R Heathcote, P Holligan, A Lyachev, P Matousek, IO Musgrave, D Neely, PA Norreys, I Ross, Y Tang, TB Winstone, BE Wyborn, J Collier

The aim of this project is to establish a 10 PW facility on the Vulcan laser system capable of being focussed to intensities of at least 10 23 Wcm-2 and integrate this into a flexible and unique user facility This paper will present progress made in Phase one developing the 10PW Front End as well as the concept for the new Vulcan 10 PW facility. The new facility will be configured in a unique way to maximise the scientific opportunities presented through a combination with the existing capabilities already established on Vulcan. This ground breaking development will open up a range of new scientific opportunities. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.


Electron bunch length measurements from laser-accelerated electrons using single-shot thz time-domain interferometry

Physical Review Letters 104 (2010)

AD Debus, M Bussmann, U Schramm, R Sauerbrey, CD Murphy, Z Major, R Hörlein, L Veisz, K Schmid, J Schreiber, K Witte, SP Jamison, JG Gallacher, DA Jaroszynski, MC Kaluza, B Hidding, S Kiselev, R Heathcote, PS Foster, D Neely, EJ Divall, CJ Hooker, JM Smith, K Ertel, AJ Langley, P Norreys, JL Collier, S Karsch

Laser-plasma wakefield-based electron accelerators are expected to deliver ultrashort electron bunches with unprecedented peak currents. However, their actual pulse duration has never been directly measured in a single-shot experiment. We present measurements of the ultrashort duration of such electron bunches by means of THz time-domain interferometry. With data obtained using a 0.5 J, 45 fs, 800 nm laser and a ZnTe-based electro-optical setup, we demonstrate the duration of laser-accelerated, quasimonoenergetic electron bunches [best fit of 32 fs (FWHM) with a 90% upper confidence level of 38 fs] to be shorter than the drive laser pulse, but similar to the plasma period. © 2010 The American Physical Society.