Retrieving fields from proton radiography without source profiles.

Physical review. E 100 (2019) 033208-

MF Kasim, AFA Bott, P Tzeferacos, DQ Lamb, G Gregori, SM Vinko

Proton radiography is a technique in high-energy density science to diagnose magnetic and/or electric fields in a plasma by firing a proton beam and detecting its modulated intensity profile on a screen. Current approaches to retrieve the integrated field from the modulated intensity profile require the unmodulated beam intensity profile before the interaction, which is rarely available experimentally due to shot-to-shot variability. In this paper, we present a statistical method to retrieve the integrated field without needing to know the exact source profile. We apply our method to experimental data, showing the robustness of our approach. Our proposed technique allows for the retrieval not only of the path-integrated fields, but also of the statistical properties of the fields.

Inverse problem instabilities in large-scale modeling of matter in extreme conditions

Physics of Plasmas 26 (2019)

MF Kasim, TP Galligan, J Topp-Mugglestone, G Gregori, SM Vinko

© 2019 Author(s). Our understanding of physical systems often depends on our ability to match complex computational modeling with the measured experimental outcomes. However, simulations with large parameter spaces suffer from inverse problem instabilities, where similar simulated outputs can map back to very different sets of input parameters. While of fundamental importance, such instabilities are seldom resolved due to the intractably large number of simulations required to comprehensively explore parameter space. Here, we show how Bayesian inference can be used to address inverse problem instabilities in the interpretation of x-ray emission spectroscopy and inelastic x-ray scattering diagnostics. We find that the extraction of information from measurements on the basis of agreement with simulations alone is unreliable and leads to a significant underestimation of uncertainties. We describe how to statistically quantify the effect of unstable inverse models and describe an approach to experimental design that mitigates its impact.

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

Sci Rep 8 (2018) 6276-6276

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.

Measurements of the K-shell opacity of a solid-density magnesium plasma heated by an X-ray free electron laser

Physical Review Letters American Physical Society 119 (2017) 085001-

TR Preston, SM Vinko, O Ciricosta, P Hollebon, H-K Chung, T Preston, GL Dakovski, J Krzywinski, M Minitti, T Burian, J Chalupský, V Hájková, V Vozda, L Juha, U Zastrau, JS Wark, RW Lee

We present measurements of the spectrally-resolved X-rays emitted from solid-density magnesium targets of varying sub-μm thicknesses isochorically heated by an X-ray laser. The data exhibit a largely thickness-independent source function, allowing the extraction of a measure of the opacity to K-shell X-rays within well-defined regimes of electron density and temperature, extremely close to local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) conditions. The deduced opacities at the peak of the K-α transitions of the ions are consistent with those predicted by detailed atomic-kinetics calculations.

Observation of Reverse Saturable Absorption of an X-ray Laser.

Physical review letters 119 (2017) 075002-

BI Cho, MS Cho, M Kim, H-K Chung, B Barbrel, K Engelhorn, T Burian, J Chalupský, O Ciricosta, GL Dakovski, V Hájková, M Holmes, L Juha, J Krzywinski, RW Lee, CH Nam, DS Rackstraw, S Toleikis, JJ Turner, SM Vinko, JS Wark, U Zastrau, PA Heimann

A nonlinear absorber in which the excited state absorption is larger than the ground state can undergo a process called reverse saturable absorption. It is a well-known phenomenon in laser physics in the optical regime, but is more difficult to generate in the x-ray regime, where fast nonradiative core electron transitions typically dominate the population kinetics during light matter interactions. Here, we report the first observation of decreasing x-ray transmission in a solid target pumped by intense x-ray free electron laser pulses. The measurement has been made below the K-absorption edge of aluminum, and the x-ray intensity ranges are 10^{16} -10^{17}  W/cm^{2}. It has been confirmed by collisional radiative population kinetic calculations, underscoring the fast spectral modulation of the x-ray pulses and charge states relevant to the absorption and transmission of x-ray photons. The processes shown through detailed simulations are consistent with reverse saturable absorption, which would be the first observation of this phenomena in the x-ray regime. These light matter interactions provide a unique opportunity to investigate optical transport properties in the extreme state of matters, as well as affording the potential to regulate ultrafast x-ray free-electron laser pulses.

Simultaneous diagnosis of radial profiles and mix in NIF ignition-scale implosions via X-ray spectroscopy

Physics of Plasmas AIP Publishing 24 (2017) 112703

O Ciricosta, H Scott, P Durey, BA Hammel, R Epstein, T Preston, SP Regan, NC Woolsey, S Vinko, J Wark

In a NIF implosion hydrodynamic instabilities may cause cold material from the imploding shell to be injected into the hot-spot (hot-spot mix), enhancing the radiative and conductive losses, which in turn may lead to a quenching of the ignition process. The bound-bound features of the spectrum emitted by high-Z ablator dopants that get mixed into the hot-spot have been previously used to infer the total amount of mixed mass; however, the typical errorbars are larger than the maximum tolerable mix. We present here an improved 2D model for mix spectroscopy which can be used to retrieve information on both the amount of mixed mass and on the full imploded plasma profile. By performing radiation transfer, and simultaneously fitting all of the features exhibited by the spectra, we are able to constrain self-consistently the effect of the opacity of the external layers of the target on the emission, thus improving the accuracy of the inferred mixed mass. The model's predictive capabilities are first validated by fitting simulated spectra arising from fully characterized hydrodynamic simulations, then the model is applied to previously published experimental results, providing values of mix mass in agreement with previous estimates. We show that the new self consistent procedure leads to better constrained estimates of mix, and also provides insight on the sensitivity of the hot-spot spectroscopy to the spatial properties of the imploded capsule, such as the in- ight aspect ratio of the cold fuel surrounding the hotspot.

Short-wavelength free-electron laser sources and science: a review

Reports on Progress in Physics IOP Science 80 (2017) 115901

EA Seddon, JA Clarke, C Masciovecchio, DJ Dunning, F Parmigiani, CJ Milne, D Rugg, JCH Spence, NR Thompson, SM Vinko, K Ueda, J Wark, W Wurth

This review is focused on free-electron lasers (FELs) in the hard to soft x-ray regime. The aim is to provide newcomers to the area with insights into: the basic physics of FELs, the qualities of the radiation they produce, the challenges of transmitting that radiation to end users and the diversity of current scientific applications. Initial consideration is given to FEL theory in order to provide the foundation for discussion of FEL output properties and the technical challenges of short-wavelength FELs. This is followed by an overview of existing x-ray FEL facilities, future facilities and FEL frontiers. To provide a context for information in the above sections, a detailed comparison of the photon pulse characteristics of FEL sources with those of other sources of high brightness x-rays is made. A brief summary of FEL beamline design and photon diagnostics then precedes an overview of FEL scientific applications. Recent highlights are covered in sections on structural biology, atomic and molecular physics, photochemistry, non-linear spectroscopy, shock physics, solid density plasmas. A short industrial perspective is also included to emphasise potential in this area.

Atomic processes modeling of X-ray free electron laser produced plasmas using SCFLY code


H-K Chung, BI Cho, O Ciricosta, SM Vinko, JS Wark, RW Lee

Simulations of the time and space-resolved x-ray transmission of a free-electron-laser-heated aluminium plasma


DS Rackstraw, SM Vinko, O Ciricosta, H-K Chung, RW Lee, JS Wark

Measurements of continuum lowering in solid-density plasmas created from elements and compounds

Nature Communications Nature Publishing Group 7 (2016) 11713-

O Ciricosta, SM Vinko, JS Wark, DS Rackstraw, B Barbrel, TR Preston, J Chalupsky, B Cho, H-K Chung, GL Dakovski, K Engelhorn, V Hajkova, P Heimann, M Holmes, L Juha, J Krzywinski, RW Lee, S Toleikis, JJ Turner, U Zastrau, T Burian

The effect of a dense plasma environment on the energy levels of an embedded ion is usually described in terms of the lowering of its continuum level. For strongly coupled plasmas, the phenomenon is intimately related to the equation of state; hence, an accurate treatment is crucial for most astrophysical and inertial-fusion applications, where the case of plasma mixtures is of particular interest. Here we present an experiment showing that the standard density-dependent analytical models are inadequate to describe solid-density plasmas at the temperatures studied, where the reduction of the binding energies for a given species is unaffected by the different plasma environment (ion density) in either the element or compounds of that species, and can be accurately estimated by calculations only involving the energy levels of an isolated neutral atom. The results have implications for the standard approaches to the equation of state calculations.

Detailed model for hot-dense aluminum plasmas generated by an X-ray free electron laser

Physics of Plasmas American Institute of Physics 23 (2016)

O Ciricosta, SM Vinko, HK Chung, C Jackson, RW Lee, TR Preston, DS Rackstraw, JS Wark

The possibility of creating hot-dense plasma samples by isochoric heating of solid targets with high-intensity femtosecond X-ray lasers has opened up new opportunities in the experimental study of such systems. A study of the X-ray spectra emitted from solid density plasmas has provided significant insight into the X-ray absorption mechanisms, subsequent target heating, and the conditions of temperature, electron density, and ionization stages produced (Vinko et al., Nature 482, 59–62 (2012)). Furthermore, detailed analysis of the spectra has provided new information on the degree of ionization potential depression in these strongly coupled plasmas (Ciricosta et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 065002 (2012)). Excellent agreement between experimental and simulated spectra has been obtained, but a full outline of the procedure by which this has been achieved has yet to be documented. We present here the details and approximations concerning the modelling of the experiment described in the above referenced work. We show that it is crucial to take into account the spatial and temporal gradients in simulating the overall emission spectra, and discuss how aspects of the model used affect the interpretation of the data in terms of charge-resolved measurements of the ionization potential depression.

Investigation of femtosecond collisional ionization rates in a solid-density aluminium plasma.

Nature communications 6 (2015) 6397-

SM Vinko, O Ciricosta, TR Preston, DS Rackstraw, CRD Brown, T Burian, J Chalupský, BI Cho, H-K Chung, K Engelhorn, RW Falcone, R Fiokovinini, V Hájková, PA Heimann, L Juha, HJ Lee, RW Lee, M Messerschmidt, B Nagler, W Schlotter, JJ Turner, L Vysin, U Zastrau, JS Wark

The rate at which atoms and ions within a plasma are further ionized by collisions with the free electrons is a fundamental parameter that dictates the dynamics of plasma systems at intermediate and high densities. While collision rates are well known experimentally in a few dilute systems, similar measurements for nonideal plasmas at densities approaching or exceeding those of solids remain elusive. Here we describe a spectroscopic method to study collision rates in solid-density aluminium plasmas created and diagnosed using the Linac Coherent light Source free-electron X-ray laser, tuned to specific interaction pathways around the absorption edges of ionic charge states. We estimate the rate of collisional ionization in solid-density aluminium plasmas at temperatures ~30 eV to be several times higher than that predicted by standard semiempirical models.

The creation of large-volume, gradient-free warm dense matter with an x-ray free-electron laser

Physics of Plasmas 22 (2015)

A Lévy, P Audebert, R Shepherd, J Dunn, M Cammarata, O Ciricosta, F Deneuville, F Dorchies, M Fajardo, C Fourment, D Fritz, J Fuchs, J Gaudin, M Gauthier, A Graf, HJ Lee, H Lemke, B Nagler, J Park, O Peyrusse, AB Steel, SM Vinko, JS Wark, GO Williams, D Zhu, RW Lee

© 2015 AIP Publishing LLC. The efficiency and uniformity of heating induced by hard x-ray free-electron laser pulse is investigated for 0.5 μm silver foils using the X-ray Pump Probe instrument at the Linac Coherent Light Source facility. Intense 8.9 keV x-ray pulses of 60fs duration deposit energy predominantly via inner-shell ionization to create a non-equilibrium Ag solid density plasma. The x-ray pulses are focused to 14 × 17 μm2 by means of beryllium lenses and by varying the total beam energy, the energy deposition is varied over a range of irradiances from 4.4 to 6.5 × 1015 ∼ W/cm2. Two time-and-space resolved interferometers simultaneously probed the expansion of the front and rear sample surfaces and find evidence of a nearly symmetric expansion pointing to the uniformity of energy deposition over the full target thickness. The experimental results are compared with two different hydrodynamic simulations of the sample expansion. The agreement between experimental and theoretical results yields an estimate of the temperature evolution as a function of x-ray irradiance that varies from 8 to 10 eV for the x-ray irradiances studied.

Saturable absorption of an x-ray free-electron-laser heated solid-density aluminum plasma.

Physical review letters 114 (2015) 015003-

DS Rackstraw, O Ciricosta, SM Vinko, B Barbrel, T Burian, J Chalupský, BI Cho, H-K Chung, GL Dakovski, K Engelhorn, V Hájková, P Heimann, M Holmes, L Juha, J Krzywinski, RW Lee, S Toleikis, JJ Turner, U Zastrau, JS Wark

High-intensity x-ray pulses from an x-ray free-electron laser are used to heat and probe a solid-density aluminum sample. The photon-energy-dependent transmission of the heating beam is studied through the use of a photodiode. Saturable absorption is observed, with the resulting transmission differing significantly from the cold case, in good agreement with atomic-kinetics simulations.

The creation of large-volume, gradient-free warm dense matter with an x-ray free-electron laser

PHYSICS OF PLASMAS 22 (2015) ARTN 030703

A Levy, P Audebert, R Shepherd, J Dunn, M Cammarata, O Ciricosta, F Deneuville, F Dorchies, M Fajardo, C Fourment, D Fritz, J Fuchs, J Gaudin, M Gauthier, A Graf, HJ Lee, H Lemke, B Nagler, J Park, O Peyrusse, AB Steel, SM Vinko, JS Wark, GO Williams, D Zhu, RW Lee

X-ray free-electron laser studies of dense plasmas


SM Vinko

Evidence for a glassy state in strongly driven carbon.

Scientific reports 4 (2014) 5214-

CRD Brown, DO Gericke, M Cammarata, BI Cho, T Döppner, K Engelhorn, E Förster, C Fortmann, D Fritz, E Galtier, SH Glenzer, M Harmand, P Heimann, NL Kugland, DQ Lamb, HJ Lee, RW Lee, H Lemke, M Makita, A Moinard, CD Murphy, B Nagler, P Neumayer, K-U Plagemann, R Redmer, D Riley, FB Rosmej, P Sperling, S Toleikis, SM Vinko, J Vorberger, S White, TG White, K Wünsch, U Zastrau, D Zhu, T Tschentscher, G Gregori

Here, we report results of an experiment creating a transient, highly correlated carbon state using a combination of optical and x-ray lasers. Scattered x-rays reveal a highly ordered state with an electrostatic energy significantly exceeding the thermal energy of the ions. Strong Coulomb forces are predicted to induce nucleation into a crystalline ion structure within a few picoseconds. However, we observe no evidence of such phase transition after several tens of picoseconds but strong indications for an over-correlated fluid state. The experiment suggests a much slower nucleation and points to an intermediate glassy state where the ions are frozen close to their original positions in the fluid.

Density functional theory calculations of continuum lowering in strongly coupled plasmas.

Nature communications 5 (2014) 3533-

SM Vinko, O Ciricosta, JS Wark

An accurate description of the ionization potential depression of ions in plasmas due to their interaction with the environment is a fundamental problem in plasma physics, playing a key role in determining the ionization balance, charge state distribution, opacity and plasma equation of state. Here we present a method to study the structure and position of the continuum of highly ionized dense plasmas using finite-temperature density functional theory in combination with excited-state projector augmented-wave potentials. The method is applied to aluminium plasmas created by intense X-ray irradiation, and shows excellent agreement with recently obtained experimental results. We find that the continuum lowering for ions in dense plasmas at intermediate temperatures is larger than predicted by standard plasma models and explain this effect through the electronic structure of the valence states in these strong-coupling conditions.

Opacity effects in a solid-density aluminium plasma created by photo-excitation with an X-ray laser


DS Rackstraw, SM Vinko, O Ciricosta, BI Cho, K Engelhorn, H-K Chung, CRD Brown, T Burian, J Chalupsky, RW Falcone, C Graves, V Hajkova, A Higginbotham, L Juha, J Krzywinski, HJ Lee, M Messerschmidt, C Murphy, Y Ping, A Scherz, W Schlotter, S Toleikis, JJ Turner, L Vysin, T Wang, B Wu, U Zastrau, D Zhu, B Nagler, RW Lee, PA Heimann, JS Wark