Publications


Time-Resolved XUV Opacity Measurements of Warm Dense Aluminum.

Physical review letters 124 (2020) ARTN 225002

S Vinko, V Vozda, J Andreasson, S Bajt, J Bielecki, T Burian, J Chalupsky, O Ciricosta, M Desjarlais, H Fleckenstein, J Hajdu, V Hajkova, P Hollebon, L Juha, M Kasim, E McBride, K Muehlig, T Preston, D Rackstraw, S Roling, S Toleikis, J Wark, H Zacharias

The free-free opacity in plasmas is fundamental to our understanding of energy transport in stellar interiors and for inertial confinement fusion research. However, theoretical predictions in the challenging dense plasma regime are conflicting and there is a dearth of accurate experimental data to allow for direct model validation. Here we present time-resolved transmission measurements in solid-density Al heated by an XUV free-electron laser. We use a novel functional optimization approach to extract the temperature-dependent absorption coefficient directly from an oversampled pool of single-shot measurements, and find a pronounced enhancement of the opacity as the plasma is heated to temperatures of order of the Fermi energy. Plasma heating and opacity enhancement are observed on ultrafast timescales, within the duration of the femtosecond XUV pulse. We attribute further rises in the opacity on ps timescales to melt and the formation of warm dense matter.


Time-resolved XUV opacity measurements of warm-dense aluminium

Physical Review Letters American Physical Society 124 (2020) 225002

S Vinko, V Vozda, J Andreasson, O Ciricosta, P Hollebon, M Kasim, DS Rackstraw, J Wark

The free-free opacity in plasmas is fundamental to our understanding of energy transport in stellar interiors and for inertial confinement fusion research. However, theoretical predictions in the challenging dense plasma regime are conflicting and there is a dearth of accurate experimental data to allow for direct model validation. Here we present time-resolved transmission measurements in solid-density Al heated by an XUV free-electron laser. We use a novel functional optimization approach to extract the temperature-dependent absorption coefficient directly from an oversampled pool of single-shot measurements, and find a pronounced enhancement of the opacity as the plasma is heated to temperatures of order of the Fermi energy. Plasma heating and opacity enhancement are observed on ultrafast timescales, within the duration of the femtosecond XUV pulse. We attribute further rises in the opacity on ps timescales to melt and the formation of warm dense matter.


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

Physics of Plasmas AIP Publishing 26 (2019) 112706

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

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.


Ultrafast laser-matter interaction with nanostructured targets

X-RAY LASERS AND COHERENT X-RAY SOURCES: DEVELOPMENT AND APPLICATIONS XIII 11111 (2019)

RS Marjoribanks, L Lecherbourg, J Sipe, G Kulcsar, A Heron, J-C Adam, A Miscampbell, G Thomas, R Royle, O Humphries, R Ko, S Le Moal, A Tan, J Li, T Preston, Q van den Berg, M Kasim, B Nagler, E Galtier, E Cunningham, J Wark, S Vinko


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 American Physical Society 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, J Wark, P Velarde, SM Vinko

Electron-ion collisional dynamics is of fundamental importance in determining plasma transport properties, non-equilibrium 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 ultra-fast 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 times 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. Non-LTE (local 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, T Preston, H-K Chung, GL Dakovski, J Krzywinski, M Minitti, T Burian, J Chalupský, V Hájková, L Juha, V Vozda, U Zastrau, RW Lee, JS Wark

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 American Physical Society 119 (2017) 075002-

BI Cho, Cho, M Kim, H-K Chung, B Barbrel, K Engelhorn, T Burian, S Chalupský, O Ciricosta, GL Davovski, 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 (RSA). 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 non-radiative 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 10^16~17 W/cm2. 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 extreme state of matters, as well as affording the potential to regulate ultrafast XFEL 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, S Vinko, NC Woolsey, 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, DJ Dunning, C Masciovecchio, CJ Milne, F Parmigiani, D Rugg, JCH Spence, NR Thompson, K Ueda, SM Vinko, 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

ATOMIC PROCESSES IN PLASMAS (APIP 2016) 1811 (2017)

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

Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics IOP Publishing 49 (2016) 035603

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

<p>We present simulations of the time and space-resolved transmission of a solid-density aluminium plasma as it is created and probed with the focussed output of an x-ray free-electron-laser with photon energies ranging from the K-edge of the cold material (1560 eV) to 1880 eV. We demonstrate how information about the temporal evolution of the charge states within the system can be extracted from the spatially resolved, yet time-integrated transmission images. We propose that such time-resolved measurements could in principle be performed with recently developed split-and-delay techniques.</p>


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, B Barbrel, DS Rackstraw, 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

JOURNAL OF PLASMA PHYSICS 81 (2015) ARTN 365810501

SM Vinko


Evidence for a glassy state in strongly driven carbon

Scientific Reports Springer Nature 4 (2014) 5214

CRD Brown, 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

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.

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