INTERNATIONAL TOPICAL CONFERENCE ON PLASMA SCIENCE: STRONGLY COUPLED ULTRA-COLD AND QUANTUM PLASMAS 1421 (2011)
High Energy Density Physics 7 (2011) 111-116
We present simulations of the charge states produced by the interaction of intense X-ray laser radiation with a neon gas. We model the results of a recent experiment (Young et al., Nature 466, 56 (2010)), where mJ pulses of X-rays, with photon energies ranging from 800 to 2000 eV and pulse lengths ranging from 70 to 340 fs were incident on neon atoms at intensities of up to 10 18 W cm -2. Simulations using an adapted version of the SCFLY collisional-radiative code, which included the effect of electron collisions and a simple self-consistent temperature model, result in charge state distributions that are in good agreement with the experimental data. We calculate the electron temperature of the system during the evolution of the plasma, and comment upon the role that collisions may play in determining the charge state distributions as a function of the neon ion number density. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
We present a proposal for testing the prediction of non-equilibrium quantum field theory below the Schwinger limit. The proposed experiments should be able to detect a measurable number of gamma rays resulting from the annihilation of pairs in the focal spot of two opposing high intensity laser beams. We discuss the dependence of the expected number of gamma rays with the laser parameters and compare with the estimated background level of gamma hits for realistic laser conditions.
High Energy Density Physics 6 (2010) 109-112
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.
Journal of Physics: Conference Series 244 (2010)
The acceleration of intense proton and ion beams by ultra-intense lasers has matured to a point where applications in basic research and technology are being developed. Crucial for harvesting the unmatched beam parameters driven by the relativistic electron sheath is the precise control of the beam. We report on recent experiments using the PHELIX laser at GSI, the VULCAN laser at RAL and the TRIDENT laser at LANL to control and use laser accelerated proton beams for applications in high energy density research. We demonstrate efficient collimation of the proton beam using high field pulsed solenoid magnets, a prerequisite to capture and transport the beam for applications. Furthermore we report on two campaigns to use intense, short proton bunches to isochorically heat solid targets up to the warm dense matter state. The temporal profile of the proton beam allows for rapid heating of the target, much faster than the hydrodynamic response time thereby creating a strongly coupled plasma at solid density. The target parameters are then probed by X-ray Thomson scattering (XRTS) to reveal the density and temperature of the heated volume. This combination of two powerful techniques developed during the past few years allows for the generation and investigation of macroscopic samples of matter in states present in giant planets or the interior of the earth. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.
Oxford University Press, 2010
Part of a series from Oxford Master Series in Atomic, Optical, and Laser Physics
In this book the interaction of radiation and matter, and the principles of laser operation are treated at a level suitable for fourth-year undergraduate ...
J Phys Condens Matter 22 (2010) 065404-
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  direction there is a significant associated shear strain, while shocks in the  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.
PHYSICAL REVIEW B 81 (2010) ARTN 092102
Journal of Optics A: Pure and Applied Optics 12 (2010)
A method for generating non-uniformly spaced (chirped) trains of high-energy, high-contrast, femtosecond pulses is described and demonstrated. In this method a temporally stretched laser pulse is passed through an acousto-optic programmable dispersive filter (AOPDF), a birefringent plate, and a linear polarizer. It is demonstrated that linear and nonlinear variation of the pulse separation within the train may be controlled by changing respectively the third-and fourth-order dispersion introduced by the AOPDF. Programmable, non-uniform pulse trains of this type may find applications in quasi-phase matching high-harmonic generation. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.
Phys Rev Lett 104 (2010) 225001-
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.
New Journal of Physics 12 (2010)
The role of plasma channels as waveguides for laser-wakefield accelerators is discussed in terms of the results of experiments performed with the Astra-Gemini laser, numerical simulations using the code WAKE, and the theory of self-focusing and self-guiding of intense laser beams. It is found that at a given electron density, electron beams can be accelerated using lower laser powers in a waveguide structure than in a gas-jet or cell. The transition between relativistically self-guided and channel-assisted guiding is seen in the simulations and in the behaviour of the production of electron beams. We also show that by improving the quality of the driving laser beam the threshold laser energy required to produce electron beams can be reduced by a factor of almost 2. The use of an aperture allows the production of a quasi-monoenergetic electron beam of energy 520 MeV with an input laser power of only 30 TW. © IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.
Physical Review Letters 105 (2010)
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.
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
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.
REVIEW OF SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS 81 (2010)
AIP Conference Proceedings 1228 (2010) 295-300
Latest developments in the field of laser-wakefield accelerators (LWFAs) have led to relatively stable electron beams in terms of peak energy, charge, pointing and divergence from mmsized accelerators. Simulations and LWFA theory indicate that these beams have low transverse emittances and ultrashort bunch durations on the order of ∼ 10 fs. These features make LWFAs perfectly suitable for driving high-brightness X-ray undulator sources and free-electron lasers (FELs) on a university-laboratory scale.With the detection of soft-X-ray radiation from an undulator source driven by laser-wakefield accelerated electrons, we succeeded in achieving a first milestone on this path. The source delivers remarkably stable photon beams which is mainly due to the stable electron beam and our miniature magnetic quadrupole lenses, which significantly reduce its divergence and angular shot-to-shot variation. An increase in electron energy allows for compact, tunable, hard-Xray undulator sources. Improvements of the electron beams in terms of charge and energy spread will put table-top FELs within reach. © 2010 American Institute of Physids.
Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics 43 (2010)
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.
Physical Review Special Topics - Accelerators and Beams 13 (2010)
The generation of quasimonoenergetic electron beams, with energies greater than 500 MeV, in a laser-plasma accelerator driven by 2.5 J, 80 fs laser pulses guided in a low density plasma channel, is investigated. The laser energy required to achieve electron injection is found to depend strongly on the quality of the input laser focal spot. Simulations show that, although the matched spot size of the plasma channel is greater than the self-focused spot size, the channel assists relativistic self-focusing and enables electron injection to occur at lower plasma densities and laser powers than would be possible without a waveguide. © 2010 The American Physical Society.
Journal of the Optical Society of America B: Optical Physics Optical Society of American (OSA) 27 (2010) 763-772
Two techniques are demonstrated to produce ultrashort pulse trains capable of quasi-phase-matching highharmonic generation. The first technique makes use of an array of birefringent crystals and is shown to generate high-contrast pulse trains with constant pulse spacing. The second technique employs a grating-pair stretcher, a multiple-order wave plate, and a linear polarizer. Trains of up to 100 pulses are demonstrated with this technique, with almost constant inter-pulse separation. It is shown that arbitrary pulse separation can be achieved by introducing the appropriate dispersion. This principle is demonstrated by using an acousto-optic programmable dispersive filter to introduce third- and fourth-order dispersions leading to a linear and quadratic variation of the separation of pulses through the train. Chirped-pulse trains of this type may be used to quasi-phase-match high-harmonic generation in situations where the coherence length varies through the medium. © 2010 Optical Society of America.
MRS BULLETIN 35 (2010) 999-1006
High Energy Density Physics 6 (2010) 305-310
We calculate the static structure factor of dense multi-component plasmas. Large scale ab initio finite-temperature DFT molecular dynamics simulations are performed in order to cover the region where a consistent quantum treatment for the electrons is inevitable. Especially, the behavior at small wave numbers k can be inferred from the relation to the isothermal compressibility. Alternatively, the static structure factor is obtained by solving the integral equations for the pair correlation functions within the hypernetted chain (HNC) scheme. For this purpose we derive new effective two-particle quantum potentials for the interactions between the charge carriers from the full two-particle Slater sum by accounting for bound states. Comparison to the ab initio molecular dynamics simulations enables us to determine the short-range behavior of the effective electron-ion quantum potentials. Results for the static structure factor are presented for beryllium plasmas at solid density and at threefold compression. © 2009 Elsevier B.V.