J. J. Rocca,
E. C. Hammarsten, E. Jankowska,
J. Filevich, and M. C. Marconi
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins,Colorado 80523
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California 94550
V. N. Shlyaptsev
Department of Applied Science, University of California Berkeley
Livermore, Livermore, California 94551
Received 13 November 2002; accepted 7 January 2003
Table-top capillary discharge soft x-ray lasers combine the advantages of a small size and a highrepetition rate with an extremely high brightness similar to that of their laboratory-size predecessors.When utilized to probe high density plasmas their short wavelength results in a higher criticaldensity, reduced refraction, decreased free-electron absorption, and higher resolution as compared tooptical probes. These characteristics allow the design of experiments capable of measuring theevolution of plasmas with density–scale length products that are outside the reach of optical lasers.This paper reviews the use of a 46.9 nm wavelength Ne-like Ar capillary discharge table-top laserin dense plasma diagnostics, and reports soft x-ray laser interferometry results of spot-focusNd:YAG laser plasmas created at moderate irradiation intensity (
13 nspulse width duration laser pulses. The measurements produced electron density maps with densitiesup to 0.9
that show the development of a concave electron density proﬁle that differsigniﬁcantly from those of a classical expansion. This two-dimensional behavior, that was recentlyalso observed in line-focus plasmas, is analyzed here for the case of spot-focus plasmas with theassistance of hydrodynamic model simulations. The results demonstrate the use of a table-top softx-ray laser interferometer as a new high resolution tool for the study of high density plasmaphenomena and the validation of hydrodynamic codes. ©
2003 American Institute of Physics.
Optical lasers have been used for decades to diagnosedense plasmas utilizing techniques that include interferom-etry, deﬂectometry, shadowgraphy and scattering.
However,the maximum plasma density and size that can be studied arelimited by plasma refraction of the probe beam, by free–freeabsorption, and in the case of interferometry by the maxi-mum number of fringe shifts that can be detectedexperimentally.
Nevertheless, since all these limitations de-crease as a function of the frequency of the probe beam, theuse of shorter wavelength laser probes can signiﬁcantly ex-tend the plasma parameter space that can be probed. Theshort wavelength and high peak spectral brightness of softx-ray lasers make them ideal sources for probing high den-sity plasmas. Their shorter wavelength amounts to a highercritical plasma density for the probe beam that results inreduced refraction. The shorter wavelength also results insmaller diffraction and allows for higher resolution. More-over, their high monochromaticity allows for the use of multilayer-coated optics as ﬁlters to discriminate the probebeam from the strong self-emission of the hot dense plasmas.The ﬁrst soft x-ray laser plasma diagnostics experimentswere conducted at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratoryusing a laboratory-size 15.5 nm Ne-like Y laser pumped bythe Nova laser. These experiments included shadowgraphyand radiography,
of dense large-scale plasmas. The studiesprovided insight into dense plasma phenomena unavailablethrough other techniques in spite of the low repetition rate
limited to several shots per day
and the high complexity of the laboratory x-ray laser probe. Table-top soft x-ray lasers
combine the advantages of a much higher repetition rate anda small compact size with an extremely high brightness thatin some cases is similar to or higher than that of theirlaboratory-size predecessors. These characteristics allow thedesign of plasma diagnostic experiments that can systemati-cally measure the evolution of high-density plasmas, provid-ing data for the validation of hydrodynamic codes. The cap-illary discharge pumped soft x-ray lasers described in Sec. IIoffer the opportunity to develop portable soft x-ray tools forthe diagnostics of a large variety of dense plasmas. Some of us have utilized a 46.9 nm capillary discharge Ne-like Ar
Paper GI2 5, Bull. Am. Phys. Soc.
Permanent address: Department of Physics, Wroclaw University of Tech-nology, Poland.
Also with the Department of Physics, University of Buenos Aires, Argen-tina.PHYSICS OF PLASMAS VOLUME 10, NUMBER 5 MAY 2003
20311070-664X/2003/10(5)/2031/8/$20.00 © 2003 American Institute of Physics
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