Publications


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.


Measuring electron-positron annihilation radiation from laser plasma interactions

Review of Scientific Instruments 83 (2012)

H Chen, R Tommasini, J Seely, CI Szabo, U Feldman, N Pereira, G Gregori, K Falk, J Mithen, CD Murphy

We investigated various diagnostic techniques to measure the 511 keV annihilation radiations. These include step-wedge filters, transmission crystal spectroscopy, single-hit CCD detectors, and streaked scintillating detection. While none of the diagnostics recorded conclusive results, the step-wedge filter that is sensitive to the energy range between 100 keV and 700 keV shows a signal around 500 keV that is clearly departing from a pure Bremsstrahlung spectrum and that we ascribe to annihilation radiation. © 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.


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.


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.


Studying astrophysical collisionless shocks with counterstreaming plasmas from high power lasers

High Energy Density Physics 8 (2012) 38-45

HS Park, DD Ryutov, JS Ross, NL Kugland, SH Glenzer, C Plechaty, SM Pollaine, BA Remington, A Spitkovsky, L Gargate, G Gregori, A Bell, C Murphy, Y Sakawa, Y Kuramitsu, T Morita, H Takabe, DH Froula, G Fiksel, F Miniati, M Koenig, A Ravasio, A Pelka, E Liang, N Woolsey, CC Kuranz, RP Drake, MJ Grosskopf

Collisions of high Mach number flows occur frequently in astrophysics, and the resulting shock waves are responsible for the properties of many astrophysical phenomena, such as supernova remnants, Gamma Ray Bursts and jets from Active Galactic Nuclei. Because of the low density of astrophysical plasmas, the mean free path due to Coulomb collisions is typically very large. Therefore, most shock waves in astrophysics are "collisionless", since they form due to plasma instabilities and self-generated magnetic fields. Laboratory experiments at the laser facilities can achieve the conditions necessary for the formation of collisionless shocks, and will provide a unique avenue for studying the nonlinear physics of collisionless shock waves. We are performing a series of experiments at the Omega and Omega-EP lasers, in Rochester, NY, with the goal of generating collisionless shock conditions by the collision of two high-speed plasma flows resulting from laser ablation of solid targets using ∼10 16 W/cm 2 laser irradiation. The experiments will aim to answer several questions of relevance to collisionless shock physics: the importance of the electromagnetic filamentation (Weibel) instabilities in shock formation, the self-generation of magnetic fields in shocks, the influence of external magnetic fields on shock formation, and the signatures of particle acceleration in shocks. Our first experiments using Thomson scattering diagnostics studied the plasma state from a single foil and from double foils whose flows collide "head-on" Our data showed that the flow velocity and electron density were 10 8 cm/s and 10 19 cm -3, respectively, where the Coulomb mean free path is much larger than the size of the interaction region. Simulations of our experimental conditions show that weak Weibel mediated current filamentation and magnetic field generation were likely starting to occur. This paper presents the results from these first Omega experiments. © 2011.


Quantum hydrodynamics of strongly coupled electron fluids

PHYSICAL REVIEW E 85 (2012) ARTN 046408

R Schmidt, BJB Crowley, J Mithen, G Gregori


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.


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.


Transverse beam profile measurements of laser accelerated electrons using coherent optical radiation

AIP Conference Proceedings 1507 (2012) 258-261

N Bourgeois, M Heigoldt, W Rittershofer, A Popp, K Khrennikov, SI Bajlekov, S Karsh, SM Hooker

We use coherent optical transition radiation (COTR) to measure the transverse profile of laser-accelerated electron bunches. The retrieved electron beam profiles are compared to scintillator-based beam profile measurements. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.


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.


Self-organized electromagnetic field structures in laser-produced counter-streaming plasmas

Nature Physics 8 (2012) 809-812

NL Kugland, DD Ryutov, PY Chang, RP Drake, G Fiksel, DH Froula, SH Glenzer, G Gregori, M Grosskopf, M Koenig, Y Kuramitsu, C Kuranz, MC Levy, E Liang, J Meinecke, F Miniati, T Morita, A Pelka, C Plechaty, R Presura, A Ravasio, BA Remington, B Reville, JS Ross, Y Sakawa, A Spitkovsky, H Takabe, HS Park

Self-organization occurs in plasmas when energy progressively transfers from smaller to larger scales in an inverse cascade. Global structures that emerge from turbulent plasmas can be found in the laboratory and in astrophysical settings; for example, the cosmic magnetic field, collisionless shocks in supernova remnants and the internal structures of newly formed stars known as Herbig-Haro objects. Here we show that large, stable electromagnetic field structures can also arise within counter-streaming supersonic plasmas in the laboratory. These surprising structures, formed by a yet unexplained mechanism, are predominantly oriented transverse to the primary flow direction, extend for much larger distances than the intrinsic plasma spatial scales and persist for much longer than the plasma kinetic timescales. Our results challenge existing models of counter-streaming plasmas and can be used to better understand large-scale and long-time plasma self-organization. © 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


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.


X-ray Thomson scattering on shocked graphite

High Energy Density Physics 8 (2012) 46-49

D Kraus, A Otten, A Frank, V Bagnoud, A Blažević, DO Gericke, G Gregori, A Ortner, G Schaumann, D Schumacher, J Vorberger, F Wagner, K Wünsch, M Roth

We present measurements of the changes in the microscopic structure of graphite in a laser-driven shock experiment with X-ray scattering. Laser radiation with intensities of ∼2 × 10 13 W/cm 2 compressed the carbon samples by a factor of two reaching pressures of ∼90 GPa. Due to the change of the crystalline structure the scattered signals of the probe radiation were modified significantly in intensity and spectral composition compared to the scattering on cold samples. It is shown that the elastic scattering on tightly bound electrons increases strongly due to the phase transition whereas the inelastic scattering on weakly bound electrons remains nearly unchanged for the chosen geometry. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.


Molecular Dynamics Simulations for the Shear Viscosity of the One-Component Plasma

CONTRIBUTIONS TO PLASMA PHYSICS 52 (2012) 58-61

JP Mithen, J Daligault, G Gregori


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.


High Harmonic Optical Generator (Optical Rotation)

(2012) UK Patent Application GB1208753.2

LZ Liu, K O'Keeffe, SM Hooker

A high harmonic optical generator comprising a laser arrangement for emitting a beam of polarized radiation at a fundamental frequency and an optical waveguide having a hollow core for a gaseous harmonic generation medium for the generation of high harmonics of the fundamental frequency, the optical waveguide having an optical propagation axis along the hollow core, the laser arrangement is configured to couple the beam of polarized radiation along the propagation axis of the hollow core optical waveguide to provide a beam of optical driving radiation for the high harmonic generation, the optical driving radiation having a plane of polarization that rotates about the propagation axis.


Quasi-phase-matched high harmonic generation using trains of uniformly-spaced ultrafast pulses

High Intensity Lasers and High Field Phenomena, HILAS 2012 (2012)

K O'Keeffe, T Robinson, SM Hooker

We investigate quasi-phase-matching of high harmonic generation over a range of harmonic orders using trains of up to 8 uniformly-spaced counter-propagating pulses, produced using an array of birefringent crystals. © 2012 OSA.


Quasi-phase-matched high harmonic generation using trains of uniformly-spaced ultrafast pulses

High Intensity Lasers and High Field Phenomena, HILAS 2012 (2012)

K O'Keeffe, T Robinson, SM Hooker

We investigate quasi-phase-matching of high harmonic generation over a range of harmonic orders using trains of up to 8 uniformly-spaced counter-propagating pulses, produced using an array of birefringent crystals. © 2012 OSA.


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.