Publications


Magnetic field generation by Biermann battery and Weibel instability in laboratory shock waves

EAS Publications Series 58 (2012) 23-26

G Gregori, F Miniati, B Reville, RP Drake

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.


Resonant Kα spectroscopy of solid-density aluminum plasmas

Physical Review Letters 109 (2012)

BI Cho, K Engelhorn, SM Vinko, HK Chung, O Ciricosta, DS Rackstraw, RW Falcone, CRD Brown, T Burian, J Chalupský, C Graves, V Hájková, A Higginbotham, L Juha, J Krzywinski, HJ Lee, M Messersmidt, C Murphy, Y Ping, N Rohringer, A Scherz, W Schlotter, S Toleikis, JJ Turner, L Vysin, T Wang, B Wu, U Zastrau, D Zhu, RW Lee, B Nagler, JS Wark, PA Heimann

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.


Observation of inhibited electron-ion coupling in strongly heated graphite.

Sci Rep 2 (2012) 889-

TG White, J Vorberger, CR Brown, BJ Crowley, P Davis, SH Glenzer, JW Harris, DC Hochhaus, S Le Pape, T Ma, CD Murphy, P Neumayer, LK Pattison, S Richardson, DO Gericke, G Gregori

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.


Characterizing counter-streaming interpenetrating plasmas relevant to astrophysical collisionless shocks

Physics of Plasmas 19 (2012)

JS Ross, SH Glenzer, P Amendt, R Berger, L Divol, NL Kugland, OL Landen, C Plechaty, B Remington, D Ryutov, W Rozmus, DH Froula, G Fiksel, C Sorce, Y Kuramitsu, T Morita, Y Sakawa, H Takabe, RP Drake, M Grosskopf, C Kuranz, G Gregori, J Meinecke, CD Murphy, M Koenig, A Pelka, A Ravasio, T Vinci, E Liang, R Presura, A Spitkovsky, F Miniati, HS Park

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.


Laboratory investigations on the origins of cosmic rays

Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion 54 (2012)

Y Kuramitsu, Y Sakawa, T Morita, T Ide, K Nishio, H Tanji, H Aoki, S Dono, CD Gregory, JN Waugh, N Woolsey, A Dizière, A Pelka, A Ravasio, B Loupias, M Koenig, SA Pikuz, YT Li, Y Zhang, X Liu, JY Zhong, J Zhang, G Gregori, N Nakanii, K Kondo, Y Mori, E Miura, R Kodama, Y Kitagawa, K Mima, KA Tanaka, H Azechi, T Moritaka, Y Matsumoto, T Sano, A Mizuta, N Ohnishi, M Hoshino, H Takabe

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.


Inelastic x-ray scattering from shocked liquid deuterium

Physical Review Letters 109 (2012)

SP Regan, K Falk, G Gregori, PB Radha, SX Hu, TR Boehly, BJB Crowley, SH Glenzer, OL Landen, DO Gericke, T Döppner, DD Meyerhofer, CD Murphy, TC Sangster, J Vorberger

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.


Comparative merits of the memory function and dynamic local-field correction of the classical one-component plasma

PHYSICAL REVIEW E 85 (2012) ARTN 056407

JP Mithen, J Daligault, G Gregori


Nanosecond white-light Laue diffraction measurements of dislocation microstructure in shock-compressed single-crystal copper.

Nat Commun 3 (2012) 1224-

MJ Suggit, A Higginbotham, JA Hawreliak, G Mogni, G Kimminau, P Dunne, AJ Comley, N Park, BA Remington, JS Wark

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 [001] 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).


Design considerations for unmagnetized collisionless-shock measurements in homologous flows

Astrophysical Journal 749 (2012)

RP Drake, G Gregori

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)

BJB Crowley, R Bingham, RG Evans, DO Gericke, OL Landen, CD Murphy, PA Norreys, SJ Rose, T Tschentscher, CHT Wang, JS Wark, G Gregori

A common misperception of quantum gravity is that it requires accessing energies up to the Planck scale of 10 19 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.


XUV spectroscopic characterization of warm dense aluminum plasmas generated by the free-electron-laser FLASH

Laser and Particle Beams 30 (2012) 45-56

U Zastrau, T Burian, J Chalupsky, T Döppner, TWJ Dzelzainis, RR Fäustlin, C Fortmann, E Galtier, SH Glenzer, G Gregori, L Juha, HJ Lee, RW Lee, CLS Lewis, N Medvedev, B Nagler, AJ Nelson, D Riley, FB Rosmej, S Toleikis, T Tschentscher, I Uschmann, SM Vinko, JS Wark, T Whitcher, E Förster

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.


Electron acceleration driven in plasma channels at the Astra-Gemini laser facility

AIP Conference Proceedings 1507 (2012) 193-198

PA Walker, N Bourgeois, W Rittershofer, J Cowley, N Kajumba, AR Maier, J Wenz, CM Werle, DR Symes, PP Rajeev, SJ Hawkes, O Chekhlov, CJ Hooker, B Parry, Y Tang, VA Marshall, S Karsch, F Grüner, SM Hooker

The generation of GeV-scale electron beams in the plasma channel formed in a gas-filled capillary discharge waveguide is investigated. Electron beams with energies above 900 MeV and with root-mean-square divergence of 3.5 mrad are observed for plasma densities of 2.15 × 1018 cm-3 and a peak input laser power of only 55 TW. The variation of the electron energy with the plasma density is measured and found to exhibit a maximum at plasma densities for which the dephasing length approximately matches the length of the plasma channel. Injection and acceleration of electrons at the relatively low plasma density of 3.2 × 1017 cm-3 is observed. The energy spectra of the generated electron beams are shown to exhibit good shot-to-shot reproducibility, with the observed variations attributable to the measured shot-to-shot jitter of the laser parameters. Two methods for correcting for the effects on the measured energy spectrum of off-axis electron beam propagation are investigated. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.


Warm dense aluminum plasma generated by the free-electron-laser FLASH

AIP Conference Proceedings 1438 (2012) 61-64

U Zastrau, SM Vinko, JS Wark, S Toleikis, T Tschentscher, SH Glenzer, RW Lee, AJ Nelson, TWJ Dzelzainis, D Riley, B Nagler, E Galtier, FB Rosmej, E Förster

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.


Generation of scaled protogalactic seed magnetic fields in laser-produced shock waves.

Nature 481 (2012) 480-483

G Gregori, A Ravasio, CD Murphy, K Schaar, A Baird, AR Bell, A Benuzzi-Mounaix, R Bingham, C Constantin, RP Drake, M Edwards, ET Everson, CD Gregory, Y Kuramitsu, W Lau, J Mithen, C Niemann, HS Park, BA Remington, B Reville, AP Robinson, DD Ryutov, Y Sakawa, S Yang, NC Woolsey, M Koenig, F Miniati

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.


Measurement of radiative shock properties by X-ray Thomson scattering

Physical Review Letters 108 (2012)

AJ Visco, RP Drake, SH Glenzer, T Döppner, G Gregori, DH Froula, MJ Grosskopf

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)

BI Cho, K Engelhorn, SM Vinko, JS Wark, RW Falcone, PA Heimann

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.


Quantum hydrodynamics of strongly coupled electron fluids

PHYSICAL REVIEW E 85 (2012) ARTN 046408

R Schmidt, BJB Crowley, J Mithen, G Gregori


Probing dynamic material strength using in situ x-ray diffraction

AIP Conference Proceedings 1426 (2012) 975-978

J Hawreliak, B El-Dasher, J Eggert, J Rygg, G Collins, H Lorenzana, G Kimminau, A Higginbotham, B Nagler, SM Vinko, WJ Murphy, T Whitcher, S Rothman, N Park, JS Wark

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.


Multiple pulse resonantly enhanced laser plasma wakefield acceleration

AIP Conference Proceedings 1507 (2012) 872-873

L Corner, R Walczak, LJ Nevay, S Dann, SM Hooker, N Bourgeois, J Cowley

We present an outline of experiments being conducted at Oxford University on multiple-pulse, resonantly-enhanced laser plasma wakefield acceleration. This method of laser plasma acceleration uses trains of optimally spaced low energy short pulses to drive plasma oscillations and may enable laser plasma accelerators to be driven by compact and efficient fibre laser sources operating at high repetition rates. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.


Generation of scaled protogalactic seed magnetic fields in laser-produced shock waves

Nature 481 (2012) 480-483

G Gregori, A Ravasio, CD Murphy, K Schaar, A Baird, AR Bell, A Benuzzi-Mounaix, R Bingham, C Constantin, RP Drake, M Edwards, ET Everson, CD Gregory, Y Kuramitsu, W Lau, J Mithen, C Niemann, HS Park, BA Remington, B Reville, APL Robinson, DD Ryutov, Y Sakawa, S Yang, NC Woolsey, M Koenig, F Miniati

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.