Identification of Phase Transitions and Metastability in Dynamically Compressed Antimony Using Ultrafast X-Ray Diffraction.

Physical review letters 122 (2019) 255704-

AL Coleman, MG Gorman, 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, JS 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.

Phase transition lowering in dynamically compressed silicon

NATURE PHYSICS 15 (2019) 89-+

EE McBride, A Krygier, A Ehnes, E Galtier, M Harmand, Z Konopkova, HJ Lee, H-P Liermann, B Nagler, A Pelka, M Roedel, A Schropp, RF Smith, C Spindloe, D Swift, F Tavella, S Toleikis, T Tschentscher, JS Wark, A Higginbotham

Energy absorption in the laser-QED regime.

Scientific reports 9 (2019) 8956-

AF Savin, AJ Ross, R Aboushelbaya, MW Mayr, B Spiers, RH-W Wang, PA 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 100 (2019) 033206-

JD Sadler, Y Lu, B Spiers, MW Mayr, A Savin, RHW Wang, R Aboushelbaya, K Glize, R Bingham, H Li, KA Flippo, PA 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 Vlasov-Fokker-Planck simulations that resolve hot-spot self-heating in the presence of a localized spike of carbon mix, totalling 1.9% of the hot-spot mass. The mix region cools and contracts over tens of picoseconds, increasing its α particle stopping power and radiative losses. This makes a localized 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


PG Heighway, D McGonegle, N Park, A Higginbotham, JS Wark

Orbital Angular Momentum Coupling in Elastic Photon-Photon Scattering.

Physical review letters 123 (2019) 113604-

R Aboushelbaya, K Glize, AF Savin, M Mayr, B Spiers, R Wang, J Collier, M Marklund, RMGM Trines, R Bingham, PA 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.

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 26 (2019) ARTN 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, JS Wark, MB Schneider

Radiation transfer in cylindrical, toroidal and hemi-ellipsoidal plasmas


G Perez-Callejo, JS Wark, SJ Rose

Recovery of metastable dense Bi synthesized by shock compression


MG Gorman, AL Coleman, R Briggs, RS McWilliams, A Hermann, D McGonegle, CA Bolme, AE Gleason, E Galtier, HJ Lee, E Granados, EE McBride, S Rothman, DE Fratanduono, RF Smith, GW Collins, JH Eggert, JS Wark, MI McMahon

The use of geometric effects in diagnosing ion density in ICF-related dot spectroscopy experiments


G Perez-Callejo, DA Liedahl, MB Schneider, SJ Rose, JS Wark

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

PHYSICAL REVIEW E 100 (2019) ARTN 043207

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

Observation of Laser Power Amplification in a Self-Injecting Laser Wakefield Accelerator

Physical Review Letters 120 (2018)

MJV Streeter, S Kneip, MS Bloom, RA Bendoyro, O Chekhlov, AE Dangor, A Döpp, CJ Hooker, J Holloway, J Jiang, NC Lopes, H Nakamura, PA Norreys, CAJ Palmer, PP Rajeev, J Schreiber, DR Symes, M Wing, SPD Mangles, Z Najmudin

© 2018 American Physical Society. We report on the depletion and power amplification of the driving laser pulse in a strongly driven laser wakefield accelerator. Simultaneous measurement of the transmitted pulse energy and temporal shape indicate an increase in peak power from 187±11 TW to a maximum of 318±12 TW after 13 mm of propagation in a plasma density of 0.9×1018 cm-3. The power amplification is correlated with the injection and acceleration of electrons in the nonlinear wakefield. This process is modeled by including a localized redshift and subsequent group delay dispersion at the laser pulse front.

Single-shot frequency-resolved optical gating for retrieving the pulse shape of high energy picosecond pulses.

The Review of scientific instruments 89 (2018) 103509-

R Aboushelbaya, AF Savin, L Ceurvorst, J Sadler, PA Norreys, AS Davies, DH Froula, A Boyle, M Galimberti, P Oliveira, B Parry, Y Katzir, K Glize

Accurate characterization of laser pulses used in experiments is a crucial step to the analysis of their results. In this paper, a novel single-shot frequency-resolved optical gating (FROG) device is described, one that incorporates a dispersive element which allows it to fully characterize pulses up to 25 ps in duration with a 65 fs per pixel temporal resolution. A newly developed phase retrieval routine based on memetic algorithms is implemented and shown to circumvent the stagnation problem that often occurs with traditional FROG analysis programs when they encounter a local minimum.

ALICE: A non-LTE plasma atomic physics, kinetics and lineshape package


EG Hill, G Perez-Callejo, SJ Rose

Developing an Experimental Basis for Understanding Transport in NIF Hohlraum Plasmas.

Physical review letters 121 (2018) 095002-095002

MA Barrios, JD Moody, LJ Suter, M Sherlock, H Chen, W Farmer, J Jaquez, O Jones, RL Kauffman, JD Kilkenny, J Kroll, OL Landen, DA Liedahl, SA Maclaren, NB Meezan, A Nikroo, MB Schneider, DB Thorn, K Widmann, G Pérez-Callejo

We report on the first multilocation electron temperature (T_{e}) and flow measurements in an ignition hohlraum at the National Ignition Facility using the novel technique of mid-Z spectroscopic tracer "dots." The measurements define a low resolution "map" of hohlraum plasma conditions and provide a basis for the first multilocation tests of particle and energy transport physics in a laser-driven x-ray cavity. The data set is consistent with classical heat flow near the capsule but reduced heat flow near the laser entrance hole. We evaluate the role of kinetic effects, self-generated magnetic fields, and instabilities in causing spatially dependent heat transport in the hohlraum.

Channel optimization of high-intensity laser beams in millimeter-scale plasmas.

Physical review. E 97 (2018) 043208-

L Ceurvorst, A Savin, N Ratan, MF Kasim, J Sadler, PA Norreys, H Habara, KA Tanaka, S Zhang, MS Wei, S Ivancic, DH Froula, W Theobald

Channeling experiments were performed at the OMEGA EP facility using relativistic intensity (>10^{18}W/cm^{2}) kilojoule laser pulses through large density scale length (∼390-570 μm) laser-produced plasmas, demonstrating the effects of the pulse's focal location and intensity as well as the plasma's temperature on the resulting channel formation. The results show deeper channeling when focused into hot plasmas and at lower densities, as expected. However, contrary to previous large-scale particle-in-cell studies, the results also indicate deeper penetration by short (10 ps), intense pulses compared to their longer-duration equivalents. This new observation has many implications for future laser-plasma research in the relativistic regime.

Advantages to a diverging Raman amplifier

Communications Physics 1 (2018)

JD Sadler, LO Silva, RA Fonseca, K Glize, MF Kasim, A Savin, R Aboushelbaya, MW Mayr, B Spiers, RHW Wang, R Bingham, RMGM Trines, PA Norreys

© 2018, The Author(s). The plasma Raman instability can efficiently compress a nanosecond long high-power laser pulse to sub-picosecond duration. Although, many authors envisaged a converging beam geometry for Raman amplification, here we propose the exact opposite geometry; the amplification should start at the intense focus of the seed. We generalise the coupled laser envelope equations to include this non-collimated case. The new geometry completely eradicates the usual trailing secondary peaks of the output pulse, which typically lower the efficiency by half. It also reduces, by orders of magnitude, the initial seed pulse energy required for efficient operation. As in the collimated case, the evolution is self similar, although the temporal pulse envelope is different. A two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulation demonstrates efficient amplification of a diverging seed with only 0.3 mJ energy. The pulse has no secondary peaks and almost constant intensity as it amplifies and diverges.

Validating Continuum Lowering Models via Multi-Wavelength Measurements of Integrated X-ray Emission.

Scientific reports 8 (2018) 6276-

MF Kasim, JS Wark, SM Vinko

X-ray emission spectroscopy is a well-established technique used to study continuum lowering in dense plasmas. It relies on accurate atomic physics models to robustly reproduce high-resolution emission spectra, and depends on our ability to identify spectroscopic signatures such as emission lines or ionization edges of individual charge states within the plasma. Here we describe a method that forgoes these requirements, enabling the validation of different continuum lowering models based solely on the total intensity of plasma emission in systems driven by narrow-bandwidth x-ray pulses across a range of wavelengths. The method is tested on published Al spectroscopy data and applied to the new case of solid-density partially-ionized Fe plasmas, where extracting ionization edges directly is precluded by the significant overlap of emission from a wide range of charge states.

Clocking Femtosecond Collisional Dynamics via Resonant X-Ray Spectroscopy.

Physical review letters 120 (2018) 055002-

QY van den Berg, EV Fernandez-Tello, T Burian, J Chalupský, H-K Chung, O Ciricosta, GL Dakovski, V Hájková, P Hollebon, L Juha, J Krzywinski, RW Lee, MP Minitti, TR Preston, AG de la Varga, V Vozda, U Zastrau, JS Wark, P Velarde, SM Vinko

Electron-ion collisional dynamics is of fundamental importance in determining plasma transport properties, nonequilibrium plasma evolution, and electron damage in diffraction imaging applications using bright x-ray free-electron lasers (FELs). Here we describe the first experimental measurements of ultrafast electron impact collisional ionization dynamics using resonant core-hole spectroscopy in a solid-density magnesium plasma, created and diagnosed with the Linac Coherent Light Source x-ray FEL. By resonantly pumping the 1s→2p transition in highly charged ions within an optically thin plasma, we have measured how off-resonance charge states are populated via collisional processes on femtosecond time scales. We present a collisional cross section model that matches our results and demonstrates how the cross sections are enhanced by dense-plasma effects including continuum lowering. Nonlocal thermodynamic equilibrium collisional radiative simulations show excellent agreement with the experimental results and provide new insight on collisional ionization and three-body-recombination processes in the dense-plasma regime.