Publications associated with Intense X-ray-Matter Interactions

Clocking Femtosecond Collisional Dynamics via Resonant X-Ray Spectroscopy

Physical Review Letters American Physical Society (2018)

QY van den Berg, SM Vinko, JS Wark, O Ciricosta, T Preston, P Hollebon

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 1 s → 2 p 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.

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