IEEE International Conference on Plasma Science (2009)
Opt Express 17 (2009) 18271-18278
We have focused a beam (BL3) of FLASH (Free-electron LASer in Hamburg: lambda = 13.5 nm, pulse length 15 fs, pulse energy 10-40 microJ, 5 Hz) using a fine polished off-axis parabola having a focal length of 270 mm and coated with a Mo/Si multilayer with an initial reflectivity of 67% at 13.5 nm. The OAP was mounted and aligned with a picomotor controlled six-axis gimbal. Beam imprints on poly(methyl methacrylate) - PMMA were used to measure focus and the focused beam was used to create isochoric heating of various slab targets. Results show the focal spot has a diameter of < or =1 microm. Observations were correlated with simulations of best focus to provide further relevant information.
Physics of Plasmas 16 (2009)
Experiments show that application of laser smoothing schemes including smoothing by spectral dispersion and polarization smoothing effectively suppresses stimulated Raman scattering from a 2ω (527 nm) laser beam in a low average-gain plasma with a steep density gradient. Full-wave simulations reproduce the observed trends in the data and show that the scattering reduction is an indirect result of suppressing active filamentation. © 2009 American Institute of Physics.
Review of Scientific Instruments 80 (2009)
A dual-channel, curved-crystal spectrograph was designed to measure time-integrated x-ray spectra in the ∼1.5 to 2 keV range (6.2-8.2 Å wavelength) from small-mass, thin-foil targets irradiated by the VULCAN petawatt laser focused up to 4× 10 W/ cm . The spectrograph consists of two cylindrically curved potassium-acid-phthalate crystals bent in the meridional plane to increase the spectral range by a factor of ∼10 compared to a flat crystal. The device acquires single-shot x-ray spectra with good signal-to-background ratios in the hard x-ray background environment of petawatt laser-plasma interactions. The peak spectral energies of the aluminum He and Ly resonance lines were ∼1.8 and ∼1.0 mJ/eV sr (∼0.4 and 0.25 J/Å sr), respectively, for 220 J, 10 ps laser irradiation. © 2009 American Institute of Physics.
Measurement of short-range correlations in shock-compressed plastic by short-pulse x-ray scattering.
Phys Rev Lett 102 (2009) 165004-
We have performed short-pulse x-ray scattering measurements on laser-driven shock-compressed plastic samples in the warm dense matter regime, providing instantaneous snapshots of the system evolution. Time-resolved and angularly resolved scattered spectra sensitive to the correlation effects in the plasma show the appearance of short-range order within a few interionic separations. Comparison with radiation-hydrodynamic simulations indicates that the shocked plastic is compressed with a temperature of a few electron volts. These results are important for the understanding of the thermodynamic behavior of strongly correlated matter for conditions relevant to both laboratory astrophysics and inertial confinement fusion research.
Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics 80 (2009)
We have studied the dynamics of warm dense Li with near-elastic x-ray scattering. Li foils were heated and compressed using shock waves driven by 4-ns-long laser pulses. Separate 1-ns-long laser pulses were used to generate a bright source of 2.96 keV Cl Ly- α photons for x-ray scattering, and the spectrum of scattered photons was recorded at a scattering angle of 120° using a highly oriented pyrolytic graphite crystal operated in the von Hamos geometry. A variable delay between the heater and backlighter laser beams measured the scattering time evolution. Comparison with radiation-hydrodynamics simulations shows that the plasma is highly coupled during the first several nanoseconds, then relaxes to a moderate coupling state at later times. Near-elastic scattering amplitudes have been successfully simulated using the screened one-component plasma model. Our main finding is that the near-elastic scattering amplitudes are quite sensitive to the mean ionization state Z̄ and by extension to the choice of ionization model in the radiation- hydrodynamics simulations used to predict plasma properties within the shocked Li. © 2009 The American Physical Society.
Nature Physics 5 (2009) 693-696
Saturable absorption is a phenomenon readily seen in the optical and infrared wavelengths. It has never been observed in core-electron transitions owing to the short lifetime of the excited states involved and the high intensities of the soft X-rays needed. We report saturable absorption of an L-shell transition in aluminium using record intensities over 10 16 W cm 2 at a photon energy of 92 eV. From a consideration of the relevant timescales, we infer that immediately after the X-rays have passed, the sample is in an exotic state where all of the aluminium atoms have an L-shell hole, and the valence band has approximately a 9 eV temperature, whereas the atoms are still on their crystallographic positions. Subsequently, Auger decay heats the material to the warm dense matter regime, at around 25 eV temperatures. The method is an ideal candidate to study homogeneous warm dense matter, highly relevant to planetary science, astrophysics and inertial confinement fusion. © 2009 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.
Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion 51 (2009)
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. In this paper 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 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. © 2009 IOP Publishing Ltd.
Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering 7451 (2009)
We present collective Thomson scattering with soft x-ray free electron laser radiation as a method to track the evolution of warm dense matter plasmas with ∼200 fs time resolution. In a pump-probe scheme an 800 nm laser heats a 20 ∼m hydrogen droplet to the plasma state. After a variable time delay in the order of ps the plasma is probed by an x-ray ultra violet (XUV) pulse which scatters from the target and is recorded spectrally. Alternatively, in a self-Thomson scattering experiment, a single XUV pulse heats the target while a portion of its photons are being scattered probing the target. From such inelastic x-ray scattering spectra free electron temperature and density can be inferred giving insight on relaxation time scales in plasmas as well as the equation of state. We prove the feasibility of this method in the XUV range utilizing the free electron laser facility in Hamburg, FLASH. We recorded Thomson scattering spectra for hydrogen plasma, both in the self-scattering and in the pump-probe mode using optical laser heating. © 2009 SPIE-.
Physics of Plasmas 16 (2009)
Measurements of the microscopic response of warm dense matter have been demonstrated by multi-keV inelastic x-ray scattering using laser-based sources. These techniques have been used to study the high frequency electron correlations (plasmons) in low to mid- Z plasmas. The advent of fourth generation light sources will provide high fluxes of narrowband and coherent x rays that will allow to look at the low frequency correlations (the ion-acoustic waves). In this paper we present an analysis of such low frequency modes by calculating the frequency dependent ion-ion structure factor. Our model includes all the relevant multibody contributions arising from strong coupling and nonideal plasma effects. In particular, the ion-ion structure factor is obtained within the memory function formalism by satisfying a finite number of sum rules. This work could be used as a basis to a direct experimental test of dense plasma model as soon as keV free electron laser sources will become available. © 2009 American Institute of Physics.
High Energy Density Physics 5 (2009) 124-131
We present calculations of the free-free opacity of warm, solid-density aluminum at photon energies between the plasma frequency at 15 eV and the L-edge at 73 eV, using both density functional theory combined with molecular dynamics and a semi-analytical model in the RPA framework which includes exciton contributions. As both the ion and electron temperature is increased from room temperature to 10 eV, we see a marked increase in the opacity. The effect is less pronounced if only the electron temperature is allowed to increase, while the lattice remains at room temperature. The physical significance of these increases is discussed in terms of intense light-matter interactions on both femtosecond and picosecond time scales. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Measurements of ionic structure in shock compressed lithium hydride from ultrafast x-ray Thomson scattering.
Phys Rev Lett 103 (2009) 245004-
We present the first ultrafast temporally, spectrally, and angularly resolved x-ray scattering measurements from shock-compressed matter. The experimental spectra yield the absolute elastic and inelastic scattering intensities from the measured density of free electrons. Laser-compressed lithium-hydride samples are well characterized by inelastic Compton and plasmon scattering of a K-alpha x-ray probe providing independent measurements of temperature and density. The data show excellent agreement with the total intensity and structure when using the two-species form factor and accounting for the screening of ion-ion interactions.
Comparison of Parallel and Perpendicular Polarized Counterpropagating Light for Quasi-Phase-Matching High Harmonic Generation
ULTRAFAST PHENOMENA XVI 92 (2009) 15-17
AIP Conference Proceedings 1086 (2009) 125-130
Quasi-monoenergetic, laser-driven electron beams of up to ∼ 200 MeV in energy have been generated from steady-state-flow gas cells , These beams are emitted within a low-divergence cone of 2.1 ± 0.5 mrad FWHM and feature unparalleled shot-to-shot stability in energy (2.5% rms), pointing direction (1.4 mrad rms) and charge (16% rms) owing to a highly reproducible plasma-density profile within the laser-plasma-interaction volume. Laser-wakefield acceleration (LWFA) in gas cells of this type constitutes a simple and reliable source of relativistic electrons with well defined properties, which should allow for applications such as the production of extreme-ultraviolet undulator radiation in the near future. © 2009 American Institute of Physics.
ATOMIC PROCESSES IN PLASMAS 1161 (2009) 280-285
2009 Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics and 2009 Conference on Quantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference, CLEO/QELS 2009 (2009)
The temporal resolution of existing streak cameras are limited by electron transit time dispersion. Here we present a state-of-art design compensating this to achieve a breakthrough of 100fs time resolution. ©2009 IEEE.
Physics of Plasmas 16 (2009)
This paper describes a new positron source using ultraintense short pulse lasers. Although it has been theoretically studied since the 1970s, the use of lasers as a valuable new positron source was not demonstrated experimentally until recent years, when the petawatt-class short pulse lasers were developed. In 2008 and 2009, in a series of experiments performed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a large number of positrons were observed after shooting a millimeter thick solid gold target. Up to 2× positrons/s ejected at the back of approximately millimeter thick gold targets were detected. The targets were illuminated with short (∼1 ps) ultraintense (∼1× 10 W/ cm) laser pulses. These positrons are produced predominantly by the Bethe-Heitler process and have an effective temperature of 2-4 MeV, with the distribution peaking at 4-7 MeV. The angular distribution of the positrons is anisotropic. For a wide range of applications, this new laser-based positron source with its unique characteristics may complement the existing sources based on radioactive isotopes and accelerators. © 2009 American Institute of Physics.
Measurements of ionic structure in shock compressed lithium hydride from ultrafast X-ray Thomson scattering
Physical Review Letters 103 (2009)
We present the first ultrafast temporally, spectrally, and angularly resolved x-ray scattering measurements from shock-compressed matter. The experimental spectra yield the absolute elastic and inelastic scattering intensities from the measured density of free electrons. Laser-compressed lithium-hydride samples are well characterized by inelastic Compton and plasmon scattering of a K-α x-ray probe providing independent measurements of temperature and density. The data show excellent agreement with the total intensity and structure when using the two-species form factor and accounting for the screening of ion-ion interactions. © 2009 The American Physical Society.
Nature Physics 5 (2009) 826-829
Synchrotrons and free-electron lasers are the most powerful sources of X-ray radiation. They constitute invaluable tools for a broad range of research; however, their dependence on large-scale radiofrequency electron accelerators means that only a few of these sources exist worldwide. Laser-driven plasma-wave ccelerators provide markedly increased accelerating fields and hence offer the potential to shrink the size and cost of these X-ray sources to the niversity-laboratory scale. Here, we demonstrate the generation of soft-X-ray undulator radiation with laser-plasma-accelerated electron beams. The well-collimated beams deliver soft-X-ray pulses with an expected pulse duration of ∼ 10 fs (inferred from plasma-accelerator physics). Our source draws on a 30-cm-long undulator and a 1.5-cm-long accelerator delivering stable electron beams with energies of ∼ 210 MeV. The spectrum of the generated undulator radiation typically consists of a main peak centred at a wavelength of ∼ 18 nm (fundamental), a second peak near ∼ 9 nm (second harmonic) and a high-energy cutoff at ∼ 7 nm. Magnetic quadrupole lenses ensure efficient electron-beam transport and demonstrate an enabling technology for reproducible generation of tunable undulator radiation. The source is scalable to shorter wavelengths by increasing the electron energy. Our results open the prospect of tunable, brilliant, ultrashort-pulsed X-ray sources for small-scale laboratories. © 2009 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.
FEL 2009 - 31st International Free Electron Laser Conference (2009) 119-122
Ultrashort electron bunches from laser-driven plasma accelerators hold promise as drivers for short-wavelength free electron lasers. While FEL simulation techniques have been successful in simulating lasing at present-day facilities, the novel sources investigated here are likely to violate a number of widely-held assumptions. For instance the HHG seed radiation, as well as the radiation generated by the bunch, may not conform to the slowly-varying envelope approximation (SVEA) on which the majority of codes rely. Additionally, the longitudinal macroparticle binning precludes the modeling of the full physics of the system. In order to more completely simulate the sub-wavelength effects which arise, we have developed an unaveraged 1-D time-dependent code without the SVEA. We use this to perform numerical analyses and highlight some of the additional features that these new systems present. We conclude that while coherent spontaneous emission from ultra-short bunches may significantly affect start-up, the sub-wavelength structure of HHG seeds has little effect.