Using sparse Gaussian processes for predicting robust inertial confinement fusion implosion yields

IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science IEEE (2019) 1-6

P Hatfield, S Rose, R Scott, I Almosallam, S Roberts, M Jarvis

Identification of phase transitions and metastability in dynamically compressed antimony using ultrafast x-ray diffraction

Physical Review Letters American Physical Society 122 (2019) 255704

AL Coleman, R Briggs, RS McWilliams, D McGonegle, CA Bolme, AE Gleason, DE Fratanduono, RF Smith, E Galtier, HJ Lee, B Nagler, E Granados, GW Collins, JH Eggert, J Wark, MI McMahon

Ultrafast x-ray diffraction at the LCLS x-ray free electron laser has been used to resolve the structural behavior of antimony under shock compression to 59 GPa. Antimony is seen to transform to the incommensurate, host-guest phase Sb-II at ∼11 GPa, which forms on nanosecond timescales with ordered guest-atom chains. The high-pressure bcc phase Sb-III is observed above ∼15 GPa, some 8 GPa lower than in static compression studies, and mixed Sb-III/liquid diffraction are obtained between 38 and 59 GPa. An additional phase which does not exist under static compression, Sb-I', is also observed between 8 and 12 GPa, beyond the normal stability field of Sb-I, and resembles Sb-I with a resolved Peierls distortion. The incommensurate Sb-II high-pressure phase can be recovered metastably on release to ambient pressure, where it is stable for more than 10 ns.

Free Electron Relativistic Correction Factors to Collisional Excitation and Ionisation Rates in a Plasma

High Energy Density Physics Elsevier BV (2019) 100716

JJ Beesley, SJ Rose

Energy absorption in the laser-QED regime

Scientific Reports Springer Nature 9 (2019) 8956

A Savin, A Ross, R Aboushelbaya, M Mayr, B Spiers, R Wang, P Norreys

A theoretical and numerical investigation of non-ponderomotive absorption at laser intensities relevant to quantum electrodynamics is presented. It is predicted that there is a regime change in the dependence of fast electron energy on incident laser energy that coincides with the onset of pair production via the Breit-Wheeler process. This prediction is numerically verified via an extensive campaign of QED-inclusive particle-in-cell simulations. The dramatic nature of the power law shift leads to the conclusion that this process is a candidate for an unambiguous signature that future experiments on multi-petawatt laser facilities have truly entered the QED regime.

Kinetic simulations of fusion ignition with hot-spot ablator mix

Physical Review E American Physical Society 100 (2019) 033206

J Sadler, Y Lu, B Spiers, M Mayr, A Savin, R Wang, R Aboushelbaya, K Glize, R Bingham, H Li, K Flippo, P Norreys

Inertial confinement fusion fuel suffers increased X-ray radiation losses when carbon from the capsule ablator mixes into the hot-spot. Here we present one and two-dimensional ion VlasovFokker-Planck simulations that resolve hot-spot self heating in the presence a localised spike of carbon mix, totalling 1.9 % of the hot-spot mass. The mix region cools and contracts over tens of picoseconds, increasing its alpha particle stopping power and radiative losses. This makes a localised mix region more severe than an equal amount of uniformly distributed mix. There is also a purely kinetic effect that reduces fusion reactivity by several percent, since faster ions in the tail of the distribution are absorbed by the mix region. Radiative cooling and contraction of the spike induces fluid motion, causing neutron spectrum broadening. This artificially increases the inferred experimental ion temperatures and gives line of sight variations.

Molecular dynamics simulations of grain interactions in shock-compressed highly textured columnar nanocrystals

Physical Review Materials American Physical Society 3 (2019) 083602

P Heighway, F McGonegle, N Park, A Higginbotham, J Wark

While experimental and computational studies abound demonstrating the diverse range of phenomena caused by grain interactions under quasistatic loading conditions, far less attention has been given to these interactions under the comparatively dramatic conditions of shock compression. The consideration of grain interactions is essential within the context of contemporary shock-compression experiments that exploit the distinctive x-ray diffraction patterns of highly textured (and therefore strongly anisotropic) targets in order to interrogate local structural evolution. We present here a study of grain interaction effects in shock-compressed, body-centered cubic tantalum nanocrystals characterized by a columnar geometry and a strong fiber texture using large-scale molecular dynamics simulations. Our study reveals that contiguous grains deform cooperatively in directions perpendicular to the shock, driven by the gigapascal-scale stress gradients induced over their boundaries by the uniaxial compression, and in so doing are able to reach a state of reduced transverse shear stress. We compare the extent of this relaxation for two different columnar geometries (distinguished by their square or hexagonal cross-sections), and quantify the attendant change in the transverse elastic strains. We further show that cooperative deformation is able to replace ordinary plastic deformation mechanisms at lower shock pressures, and, under certain conditions, activate new mechanisms at higher pressures.

Observation of He-like satellite lines of the H-like potassium K XIX emission

Astrophysical Journal American Astronomical Society 881 (2019) 92

ME Weller, P Beiersdorfer, TE Lockard, GV Brown, A McKelvey, J Nilsen, R Shepherd, VA Soukhanovskii, MP Hill, LMR Hobbs, D Burridge, DJ Hoarty, J Morton, L Wilson, S Rose, P Hatfield

We present measurements of the H-like potassium (K xix) X-ray spectrum and its He-like (K xviii) satellite lines, which are situated in the wavelength region between 3.34 and 3.39 Å, which has been of interest for the detection of dark matter. The measurements were taken with a high-resolution X-ray spectrometer from targets irradiated by a long-pulse (2 ns) beam from the Orion laser facility. We obtain experimental wavelength values of dielectronic recombination satellite lines and show that the ratio of the Lyα lines and their dielectronic satellite lines can be used to estimate the electron temperature, which in our case was about 1.5 ± 0.3 keV.

Orbital angular momentum coupling in elastic photon-photon scattering

Physical Review Letters American Physical Society 123 (2019) 113604

R Aboushelbaya, K Glize, A Savin, M Mayr, B Spiers, R Wang, J Collier, M Marklund, R Trines, R Bingham, P Norreys

In this Letter, we investigate the effect of orbital angular momentum (OAM) on elastic photon-photon scattering in a vacuum for the first time. We define exact solutions to the vacuum electromagnetic wave equation which carry OAM. Using those, the expected coupling between three initial waves is derived in the framework of an effective field theory based on the Euler-Heisenberg Lagrangian and shows that OAM adds a signature to the generated photons thereby greatly improving the signal-to-noise ratio. This forms the basis for a proposed high-power laser experiment utilizing quantum optics techniques to filter the generated photons based on their OAM state.

Ab initio simulations and measurements of the free-free opacity in aluminum

Physical Review E American Physical Society 100 (2019) 043207

P Hollebon, O Ciricosta, MP Desjarlais, C Cacho, C Spindloe, E Springate, ICE Turcu, J Wark, SM Vinko

The free-free opacity in dense systems is a property that both tests our fundamental understanding of correlated many-body systems, and is needed to understand the radiative properties of high energy-density plasmas. Despite its importance, predictive calculations of the free-free opacity remain challenging even in the condensed matter phase for simple metals. Here we show how the free-free opacity can be modelled at finite-temperatures via time-dependent density functional theory, and illustrate the importance of including local field corrections, core polarization, and self-energy corrections. Our calculations for ground-state Al are shown to agree well with experimental opacity measurements performed on the Artemis laser facility across a wide range of extreme ultraviolet wavelengths. We extend our calculations across the melt to the warm-dense matter regime, finding good agreement with advanced plasma models based on inverse bremsstrahlung at temperatures above 10 eV.

Supersonic plasma turbulence in the laboratory

Nature Communications Nature Research 10 (2019) 1758

TG White, MT Oliver, P Mabey, AFA Bott, AA Schekochihin, G Gregori

Thomson scattering cross section in a magnetized, high-density plasma

Physical Review E American Physical Society 99 (2019) 063204

AFA Bott, G Gregori

We calculate the Thomson scattering cross section in a nonrelativistic, magnetized, high-density plasma—in a regime where collective excitations can be described by magnetohydrodynamics. We show that, in addition to cyclotron resonances and an elastic peak, the cross section exhibits two pairs of peaks associated with slow and fast magnetosonic waves; by contrast, the cross section arising in pure hydrodynamics possesses just a single pair of Brillouin peaks. Both the position and the width of these magnetosonic-wave peaks depend on the ambient magnetic field and temperature, as well as transport and thermodynamic coefficients, and so can therefore serve as a diagnostic tool for plasma properties that are otherwise challenging to measure.

First demonstration of ARC-accelerated proton beams at the National Ignition Facility

Physics of Plasmas 26 (2019)

D Mariscal, T Ma, SC Wilks, AJ Kemp, GJ Williams, P Michel, H Chen, PK Patel, BA Remington, M Bowers, L Pelz, MR Hermann, W Hsing, D Martinez, R Sigurdsson, M Prantil, A Conder, J Lawson, M Hamamoto, P Di Nicola, C Widmayer, D Homoelle, R Lowe-Webb, S Herriot, W Williams, D Alessi, D Kalantar, R Zacharias, C Haefner, N Thompson, T Zobrist, D Lord, N Hash, A Pak, N Lemos, M Tabak, C McGuffey, J Kim, FN Beg, MS Wei, P Norreys, A Morace, N Iwata, Y Sentoku, D Neely, GG Scott, K Flippo

© 2019 Author(s). New short-pulse kilojoule, Petawatt-class lasers, which have recently come online and are coupled to large-scale, many-beam long-pulse facilities, undoubtedly serve as very exciting tools to capture transformational science opportunities in high energy density physics. These short-pulse lasers also happen to reside in a unique laser regime: very high-energy (kilojoule), relatively long (multi-picosecond) pulse-lengths, and large (10s of micron) focal spots, where their use in driving energetic particle beams is largely unexplored. Proton acceleration via Target Normal Sheath Acceleration (TNSA) using the Advanced Radiographic Capability (ARC) short-pulse laser at the National Ignition Facility in the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is demonstrated for the first time, and protons of up to 18 MeV are measured using laser irradiation of >1 ps pulse-lengths and quasi-relativistic (∼10 18 W/cm 2 ) intensities. This is indicative of a super-ponderomotive electron acceleration mechanism that sustains acceleration over long (multi-picosecond) time-scales and allows for proton energies to be achieved far beyond what the well-established scalings of proton acceleration via TNSA would predict at these modest intensities. Furthermore, the characteristics of the ARC laser (large ∼100 μm diameter focal spot, flat spatial profile, multi-picosecond, relatively low prepulse) provide acceleration conditions that allow for the investigation of 1D-like particle acceleration. A high flux ∼ 50 J of laser-accelerated protons is experimentally demonstrated. A new capability in multi-picosecond particle-in-cell simulation is applied to model the data, corroborating the high proton energies and elucidating the physics of multi-picosecond particle acceleration.

Laboratory measurements of geometrical effects in the x-ray emission of optically thick lines for ICF diagnostics

Physics of Plasmas AIP Publishing 26 (2019) 063302

G Perez-Callejo, LC Jarrott, DA Liedahl, EV Marley, GE Kemp, RF Heeter, JA Emig, ME Foord, K Widmann, J Jaquez, H Huang, SJ Rose, J Wark, MB Schneider

Understanding the effects of radiative transfer in High Energy Density Physics experiments is critical for the characterization of the thermodynamic properties of highly ionized matter, in particular in Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF). We report on non-Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium experiments on cylindrical targets carried out at the Omega Laser Facility at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, Rochester NY, which aim to characterize these effects. In these experiments, a 50/50 mixture of iron and vanadium, with a thickness of 2000 Å and a diameter of 250 μm, is contained within a beryllium tamper, with a thickness of 10 μm and a diameter of 1000 μm. Each side of the beryllium tamper is then irradiated using 18 of the 60 Omega beams with an intensity of roughly 3 × 1014 W cm−2 per side, over a duration of 3 ns. Spectroscopic measurements show that a plasma temperature on the order of 2 keV was produced. Imaging data show that the plasma remains cylindrical, with geometrical aspect ratios (quotient between the height and the radius of the cylinder) from 0.4 to 2.0. The temperatures in this experiment were kept sufficiently low (∼1–2 keV) so that the optically thin Li-like satellite emission could be used for temperature diagnosis. This allowed for the characterization of optical-depth-dependent geometric effects in the vanadium line emission. Simulations present good agreement with the data, which allows this study to benchmark these effects in order to take them into account to deduce temperature and density in future ICF experiments, such as those performed at the National Ignition Facility.

Laboratory study of stationary accretion shock relevant to astrophysical systems

Scientific Reports Springer Nature 9 (2019) 8157

P Mabey, B Albertazzi, E Falize, T Michel, G Rigon, L Van Box Som, A Pelka, F-E Brack, F Kroll, E Filippov, G Gregori, Y Kuramitsu, DQ Lamb, C Li, N Ozaki, S Pikuz, Y Sakawa, P Tzeferacos, M Koenig

Accretion processes play a crucial role in a wide variety of astrophysical systems. Of particular interest are magnetic cataclysmic variables, where, plasma flow is directed along the star's magnetic field lines onto its poles. A stationary shock is formed, several hundred kilometres above the stellar surface; a distance far too small to be resolved with today's telescopes. Here, we report the results of an analogous laboratory experiment which recreates this astrophysical system. The dynamics of the laboratory system are strongly influenced by the interplay of material, thermal, magnetic and radiative effects, allowing a steady shock to form at a constant distance from a stationary obstacle. Our results demonstrate that a significant amount of plasma is ejected in the lateral direction; a phenomenon that is under-estimated in typical magnetohydrodynamic simulations and often neglected in astrophysical models. This changes the properties of the post-shock region considerably and has important implications for many astrophysical studies.

Radiation transfer in cylindrical, toroidal and hemi-ellipsoidal plasmas

Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer Elsevier BV (2019)

G Pérez-Callejo, JS Wark, SJ Rose

Recovery of metastable dense Bi synthesized by shock compression

Applied Physics Letters AIP Publishing 114 (2019) 120601

Gorman, D McGonegle, J Wark

X-ray free electron laser (XFEL) sources have revolutionized our capability to study ultrafast material behavior. Using an XFEL, we revisit the structural dynamics of shock compressed bismuth, resolving the transition sequence on shock release in unprecedented details. Unlike previous studies that found the phase-transition sequence on shock release to largely adhere to the equilibrium phase diagram (i.e., Bi-V → Bi-III → Bi-II → Bi-I), our results clearly reveal previously unseen, non-equilibrium behavior at these conditions. On pressure release from the Bi-V phase at 5 GPa, the Bi-III phase is not formed but rather a new metastable form of Bi. This new phase transforms into the Bi-II phase which in turn transforms into a phase of Bi which is not observed on compression. We determine this phase to be isostructural with β-Sn and recover it to ambient pressure where it exists for 20 ns before transforming back to the Bi-I phase. The structural relationship between the tetragonal β-Sn phase and the Bi-II phase (from which it forms) is discussed. Our results show the effect that rapid compression rates can have on the phase selection in a transforming material and show great promise for recovering high-pressure polymorphs with novel material properties in the future.

Field reconstruction from proton radiography of intense laser driven magnetic reconnection

Physics of Plasmas AIP Publishing 26 (2019)

CAJ Palmer, PT Campbell, Y Ma, L Antonelli, AFA Bott, G Gregori, J Halliday, Y Katzir, P Kordell, K Krushelnick, SV Lebedev, E Montgomery, M Notley, DC Carroll, CP Ridgers, A Schekochihin, MJV Streeter, AGR Thomas, ER Tubman, N Woolsey, L Willingale

Magnetic reconnection is a process that contributes significantly to plasma dynamics and energy transfer in a wide range of plasma and magnetic field regimes, including inertial confinement fusion experiments, stellar coronae, and compact, highly magnetized objects like neutron stars. Laboratory experiments in different regimes can help refine, expand, and test the applicability of theoretical models to describe reconnection. Laser-plasma experiments exploring magnetic reconnection at a moderate intensity (IL ∼1014 W cm-2) have been performed previously, where the Biermann battery effect self-generates magnetic fields and the field dynamics studied using proton radiography. At high laser intensities (ILλL2>1018 Wcm-2μm2), relativistic surface currents and the time-varying electric sheath fields generate the azimuthal magnetic fields. Numerical modeling of these intensities has shown the conditions that within the magnetic field region can reach the threshold where the magnetic energy can exceed the rest mass energy such that σcold = B2/(μ0nemec2) > 1 [A. E. Raymond et al., Phys. Rev. E 98, 043207 (2018)]. Presented here is the analysis of the proton radiography of a high-intensity (∼1018 W cm-2) laser driven magnetic reconnection geometry. The path integrated magnetic fields are recovered using a "field-reconstruction algorithm" to quantify the field strengths, geometry, and evolution.

Enhanced fluorescence from x-ray line coincidence pumping of K-pumped Cl and Mg-pumped Ge plasmas

Proceedings of SPIE Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers 11111 (2019)

J Nilsen, D Burridge, LMR Hobbs, D Hoarty, P Beiersdorfer, GV Brown, N Hell, D Panchenko, MF Gu, AM Saunders, HA Scott, RA London, P Hatfield, MP Hill, R Charles, L Wilson, CRD Brown, S Rose

The blind implosion-maker: Automated inertial confinement fusion experiment design

Physics of Plasmas AIP Publishing 26 (2019) 062706

PW Hatfield, S Rose, R Scott

The design of inertial confinement fusion (ICF) experiments, alongside improving the development of energy density physics theory and experimental methods, is one of the key challenges in the quest for nuclear fusion as a viable energy source [O. A. Hurricane, J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 717, 012005 (2016)]. Recent challenges in achieving a high-yield implosion at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) have led to new interest in considering a much wider design parameter space than normally studied [J. L. Peterson et al., Phys. Plasmas 24, 032702 (2017)]. Here, we report an algorithmic approach that can produce reasonable ICF designs with minimal assumptions. In particular, we use the genetic algorithm metaheuristic, in which “populations” of implosions are simulated, the design of the capsule is described by a “genome,” natural selection removes poor designs, high quality designs are “mated” with each other based on their yield, and designs undergo “mutations” to introduce new ideas. We show that it takes ∼5 × 104 simulations for the algorithm to find an original NIF design. We also link this method to other parts of the design process and look toward a completely automated ICF experiment design process—changing ICF from an experiment design problem to an algorithm design problem.

Observing thermal Schwinger pair production

Physical Review A American Physical Society (APS) 99 (2019) 052120

O Gould, S Mangles, A Rajantie, S Rose, C Xie