Publications associated with Intense X-ray-Matter Interactions

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

Nature communications 5 (2014) 3533-3533

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.

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