Journal of Instrumentation 7 (2012)
Focal aberrations of large-aperture highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) crystals in von-Hàmos geometry are investigated by experimental and computational methods. A mosaic HOPG crystal film of 100 μm thickness diffracts 8 keV x-rays. This thickness is smaller than the absorption depth of the symmetric 004-reflection, which amounts to 257 μm. Cylindrically bent crystals with 110mm radius of curvature and up to 100 mm collection width produce a X-shaped halo around the focus. This feature vanishes when the collection aperture is reduced, but axial spectral profiles show that the resolution is not affected. X-ray topography reveals significant inhomogeneous crystallite domains of 2±1mm diameter along the entire crystal. Rocking curves shift by about ±20arcmin between domains, while their full width at half-maximum varies between 30 and 50 arcmin. These inhomogeneities are not imprinted at the focal spot, since the monochromatically reflecting area of the crystal is large compared to inhomogeneities. Ray-tracing calculations using a Monte-Carlo-based algorithm developed for mosaic crystals reproduce the X-shaped halo in the focal plane, stemming from the mosaic defocussing in the non-dispersive direction in combination with large apertures. The best achievable resolution is found by analyzing a diversity of rocking curve widths, source sizes and crystal thicknesses for 8 keV x-rays to be ΔE/E ∼ 10-4. Finally a general analytic expression for the shape of the aberration is derived. © 2012 IOP Publishing Ltd and Sissa Medialab srl.
High Energy Density Physics 8 (2012) 46-49
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.
High Energy Density Physics 8 (2012) 38-45
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.
Quasi-phase-matching high harmonic generation using trains of pulses produced using an array of birefringent plates.
Opt Express 20 (2012) 6236-6247
Quasi-phase-matched high harmonic generation using trains of up to 8 counter-propagating pulses is explored. For trains of up to 4 pulses the measured enhancement of the harmonic signal scales with the number of pulses N as (N + 1)², as expected. However, for trains with N > 4, no further enhancement of the harmonic signal is observed. This effect is ascribed to changes of the coherence length Lc within the generating medium. Techniques for overcoming the variation of Lc are discussed. The pressure dependence of quasi-phase-matching is investigated and the switch from true-phase-matching to quasi-phase-matching is observed.
Nature Physics 8 (2012) 809-812
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.
AIP Conference Proceedings 1426 (2012) 975-978
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.
Physical Review Letters 109 (2012)
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.
In situ x-ray diffraction measurements of the c/a ratio in the high-pressure epsilon phase of shock-compressed polycrystalline iron
PRB American Physical Society 83 (2011) 144114-
Decay of cystalline order and equilibration during the solid-to-plasma transition induced by 20-fs microfocused 92-eV free-electron-laser pulses.
Phys Rev Lett 106 (2011) 164801-
We have studied a solid-to-plasma transition by irradiating Al foils with the FLASH free electron laser at intensities up to 10(16) W/cm(2). Intense XUV self-emission shows spectral features that are consistent with emission from regions of high density, which go beyond single inner-shell photoionization of solids. Characteristic features of intrashell transitions allowed us to identify Auger heating of the electrons in the conduction band occurring immediately after the absorption of the XUV laser energy as the dominant mechanism. A simple model of a multicharge state inverse Auger effect is proposed to explain the target emission when the conduction band at solid density becomes more atomiclike as energy is transferred from the electrons to the ions. This allows one to determine, independent of plasma simulations, the electron temperature and density just after the decay of crystalline order and to characterize the early time evolution.
High Energy Density Physics 7 (2011) 40-42
We reply to the comment by Iglesias [HEDP, XXX] regarding our implementation of a solid-state pseudopotential in a model for the calculation of the free--free opacity in warm-dense aluminum [HEDP 5(2009), 124-131]. Some further details are given describing the method used to determine the adjustable parameter in the pseudopotential and several important limitations are discussed. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.
High Energy Density Physics 7 (2011) 225-229
We review recent experimental results on the path to producing electron-positron pair plasmas using lasers. Relativistic pair-plasmas and jets are believed to exist in many astrophysical objects and are often invoked to explain energetic phenomena related to Gamma Ray Bursts and Black Holes. On earth, positrons from radioactive isotopes or accelerators are used extensively at low energies (sub-MeV) in areas related to surface science positron emission tomography and basic antimatter science. Experimental platforms capable of producing the high-temperature pair-plasma and high-flux jets required to simulate astrophysical positron conditions have so far been absent. In the past few years, we performed extensive experiments generating positrons with intense lasers where we found that relativistic electron and positron jets are produced by irradiating a solid gold target with an intense picosecond laser pulse. The positron temperatures in directions parallel and transverse to the beam both exceeded 0.5 MeV, and the density of electrons and positrons in these jets are of order 1016 cm-3 and 1013 cm-3, respectively. With the increasing performance of high-energy ultra-short laser pulses, we expect that a high-density, up to 1018 cm-3, relativistic pair-plasma is achievable, a novel regime of laboratory-produced hot dense matter. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
Decay of Cystalline Order and Equilibration during the Solid-to-Plasma Transition Induced by 20-fs Microfocused 92-eV Free-Electron-Laser Pulses
PHYSICAL REVIEW SPECIAL TOPICS-ACCELERATORS AND BEAMS 14 (2011) ARTN 164801
Journal of Applied Physics 109 (2011)
We report on nonequilibrium molecular dynamics simulations of single crystals of copper experiencing rapid shear strain. A model system, with periodic boundary conditions, which includes a single dislocation dipole is subjected to a total shear strain of close to 10 on time-scales ranging from the instantaneous to 50 ps. When the system is strained on a time-scale short compared with a phonon period, the initial total applied shear is purely elastic, and the eventual temperature rise in the system due to the subsequent plastic work can be determined from the initial elastic strain energy. The rate at which this plastic work occurs, and heat is generated, depends on the dislocation velocity, which itself is a function of shear stress. A determination of the stress-dependence of the dislocation velocity allows us to construct a simple analytic model for the temperature rise in the system as a function of strain rate, and this model is found to be in good agreement with the simulations. For the effective dislocation density within the simulations, 7.8 10 11 cm - 2, we find that applying the total shear strain on time-scales of a few tens of picoseconds greatly reduces the final temperature. We discuss these results in the context of the growing interest in producing high pressure, solid-state matter, by quasi-isentropic (rather than shock) compression. © 2011 American Institute of Physics.
Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering 8080 (2011)
A detailed knowledge of the physical phenomena underlying the generation and the transport of fast electrons generated in high-intensity laser-matter interactions is of fundamental importance for the fast ignition scheme for inertial confinement fusion. Here we report on an experiment carried out with the VULCAN Petawatt beam and aimed at investigating the role of collisional return currents in the dynamics of the fast electron beam. To that scope, in the experiment counter-propagating electron beams were generated by double-sided irradiation of layered target foils containing a Ti layer. The experimental results were obtained for different time delays between the two laser beams as well as for single-sided irradiation of the target foils. The main diagnostics consisted of two bent mica crystal spectrometers placed at either side of the target foil. High-resolution X-ray spectra of the Ti emission lines in the range from the Lyα to the Kα line were recorded. In addition, 2D X-ray images with spectral resolution were obtained by means of a novel diagnostic technique, the energy-encoded pin-hole camera, based on the use of a pin-hole array equipped with a CCD detector working in single-photon regime. The spectroscopic measurements suggest a higher target temperature for well-aligned laser beams and a precise timing between the two beams. The experimental results are presented and compared to simulation results. © 2011 SPIE.
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment 653 (2011) 137-139
Here we present results from ultra-intense experiments demonstrating the viability of polarization spectroscopy as a diagnostic of the electron return current and spatial anisotropy and distribution function of the fast electron beam. The measurements extend to ultra-relativistic intensities of 10 21 W cm-2, including laserplasma interaction regimes important for fast ignition studies, for example HiPER, and the development of secondary sources from next generation ultra-short pulse, ultra-intense laser facilities such as Astra-Gemini and ELI. As an in situ diagnostic, spectroscopic measurements are vital to understanding fast electron beams, enabling extrapolation of results to define fast ignition inertial confinement fusion and secondary source facilities. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
INTERNATIONAL TOPICAL CONFERENCE ON PLASMA SCIENCE: STRONGLY COUPLED ULTRA-COLD AND QUANTUM PLASMAS 1421 (2011)
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment (2011)
High Energy Density Physics 7 (2011) 105-109
Polarisation sensitive emission spectroscopy measurements are reported for a petawatt laser-solid target interaction at intensities up to 5 × 1020 W cm-2. These measurements were single-shot and used pairs of highly-orientated graphite spectrometers to resolve the sulphur Ly-α doublet. The sulphur Ly-α1 component shows a large positive polarisation indicative of a low energy electron beam in the plasma, the Ly-α2 component acts as a cross-spectrometer calibration. The measurements show a significant anisotropic or beam-like component to a cold return current. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
Optics InfoBase Conference Papers (2011)
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.