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Simon C. Bott et al- Quantitative Measurements of Wire Ablation in Tungsten X-pinches at 80 kA

Simon C. Bott et al- Quantitative Measurements of Wire Ablation in Tungsten X-pinches at 80 kA

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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON PLASMA SCIENCE, VOL. 36, NO. 5, OCTOBER 2008 2759
Quantitative Measurements of Wire Ablation inTungsten
-pinches at 80 kA
Simon C. Bott,
Member, IEEE 
, David M. Haas, Yossof Eshaq, Utako Ueda, Sergey V. Lebedev,
Member, IEEE 
,Jeremy P. Chittenden,
Member, IEEE 
, James B. A. Palmer, Simon N. Bland,
Member, IEEE 
,Gareth N. Hall,
Member, IEEE 
, David J. Ampleford,
Member, IEEE 
, and Farhat N. Beg,
Member, IEEE 
 Abstract
—This paper investigates the ablation of wires intwo-wire tungsten
-pinches driven by an 80-kA current over50 ns. High-resolution imaging using a Nomarski interferometerallows measurements close to the
-pinch cross point, where theablation “flare” structure is observed to clearly develop duringthe drive-current rise time. Electron density profiles are recoveredas a function of both distance normal to the wire and of time.Results compare favorably to the rocket model of wire ablation.In addition, the density contrast over the ablation “stream” and“gap” structure is measured and compared to similar measure-ments made using quantitative radiography on the 1-MA 250-nsMAGPIE generator at Imperial College London, London, U.K.
 Index Terms
—Precursor plasma, wire ablation,
-pinch.
I. I
NTRODUCTION
T
HE UNDERSTANDING of the ablation phase of explod-ingwireexperimentsisoffundamentalimportancetotheircontinued development. In cylindrical wire arrays, this phasecomprises up to 80% of the experiment, and the mass redistrib-ution resulting from wire ablation is crucial to the generationof impressive X-ray powers measured from imploding wire-array
-pinches [1] and, hence, their application to inertialconfinement fusion research.When a fast-rising current is passed through fine wires, aheterogeneous plasma structure is formed: A cold dense coreis surrounded by a low-density hot corona which carries muchof the drive current [2]–[4]. Where a global magnetic field is
Manuscript received September 30, 2007; revised November 9, 2007. Firstpublished October 24, 2008; current version published November 14, 2008.This work was supported by U.S. Department of Energy Junior Faculty GrantDE-FG02-05ER54842.S. C. Bott is with the Center for Energy Research, University of California,San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093 USA (e-mail: sbott@ucsd.edu).D. M. Haas, Y. Eshaq, U. Ueda, and F. N. Beg are with the Departmentof Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California, SanDiego, La Jolla, CA 93093 USA (e-mail: fbeg@ucsd.edu; dmhaas@ucsd.edu;yeshaq@ucsd.edu; uueda@ucsd.edu).S. V. Lebedev is with the Plasma Physics Group, Blackett Labora-tory, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, U.K., and also withBudker Institute of Nuclear Physics, Novosibirsk 630090, Russia (e-mail:S.Lebedev@imperial.ac.uk).J. P. Chittenden, S. N. Bland, and G. N. Hall are with the PlasmaPhysics Group, Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College London, London SW72AZ, U.K. (e-mail: J.Chittenden@imperial.ac.uk; SN.Bland@imperial.ac.uk;Gareth.Hall@imperial.ac.uk).J. B. A. Palmer is with the Plasma Physics Department, AWE Plc,Aldermaston RG7 4PR, U.K. (e-mail: James.Palmer@imperial.ac.uk).D. J. Ampleford is with Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM87185-1194 USA (e-mail: DAMPLEF@Sandia.gov).Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available onlineat http://ieeexplore.ieee.org.Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TPS.2008.2003964
present, the low-density corona is swept to the system axisby the
×
B
global
force. The rate at which mass is ablatedfrom the wire cores to replenish the corona is, in general, wellapproximated by a rocket model, assuming a fixed velocity of the ablated material [5]
abl
dmdt
=
μ
0
2
4
πR
0
(1)where
abl
is the fixed “ablation” velocity,
dm/dt
is the massablation rate per unit length,
is the drive current, and
R
0
isthe array radius. The acceleration of material from wires is notaxially uniform, however, and all systems with a global fielddemonstrate a periodic radial flaring structure. This has beenobserved by both laser imaging and radiography at differentcurrent levels for many different experiments, including cylin-drical [6], [7] and conical [8] wire arrays and
-pinches [9].The cause of this structure is currently not clear. A modified
m
= 0
magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) instability [10] and anelectrothermal instability [11] are two of the several possiblecandidates, and experimental information is needed to defineboth the underlying mechanism and its likely scaling withdriver current.In an
-pinch, the global magnetic field changes along the
-axis as wire separation increases, and therefore offers an op-portunity to study the variation of the ablation rate with this pa-rameter and to determine whether the rocket model provides anadequate description in this case. Measurements of the globalablation rate and flare wavelength have been made for conicalwire arrays at larger diameters and higher drive currents [8],but this paper is the first study of these phenomena for
-pinchexperiments. It should be noted that laser interferometry hasbeen used previously to study
-pinch evolution, notably in[12], but this work focuses on the quantitative measurement of the ablation structure close to the wire core. Mass ablation ratesof 
-pinches at 80 kA are then compared to cylindrical wire ar-rays at the 1-MA MAGPIE facility at Imperial College London.II. E
XPERIMENTAL
S
ETUP
The
-pinch pulser at UCSD comprises a Marx bank (
4
×
0
.
2
-
μ
F capacitors charged to 50 kV), a coaxial discharge line, awater-filled pulse-forming line, and a self-breaking switch (SF
6
at 18 lbf/in
2
). This typically delivers 80 kA to a load with a risetime of 50 ns.The load is formed from two wires of 7.5-
μ
m tungsten.These are hung initially parallel between two electrodes, which
0093-3813/$25.00 © 2008 IEEE
Authorized licensed use limited to: Univ of Calif San Diego. Downloaded on November 19, 2008 at 19:05 from IEEE Xplore. Restrictions apply.
 
2760 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON PLASMA SCIENCE, VOL. 36, NO. 5, OCTOBER 2008
Fig. 1. Schematic of the Nomarski interferometer setup and (inset) beamorientation and interference region relative to the
X
-pinch image.
are then rotated relative to each other until the wires touch,forming an “x” shape. For these experiments, the openingangle of the
-pinch (i.e., angle of wires relative to the verticalaxis) was
40
.The experimental chamber allows a range of diagnosticsto view the
-pinch, including X-ray diodes, X-ray framingcameras, crystal spectrometer, and various laser imaging tech-niques. Here, we concentrate on the use of laser interferometryto recover electron density profiles.The
-pinch is relatively small compared to the laser beamdiameter (
40 mm), and this allows the use of a Nomarski[13] shearing interferometer arrangement. A single beam froma 532-nm Nd:YAG laser with 5-ns pulse duration images the
-pinch and exits the chamber. This is subsequently split usinga Wollaston prism with a deviation angle of 2
, as shown inFig. 1.The resulting interferogram is imaged on a 16-bit charge-coupled-device camera. The large beam size allows the twoimages of the
-pinch to remain separated, and the referencesection is taken from an area outside this image. The globalmagnetic field ensures that plasma is accelerated to the axis of the
-pinch, and therefore, this region remains free from back-ground plasma during the experiment. This system is simple toset up, and the proximity of the beam interference point to thedetector provides very good beam phase matching and henceexcellent fringe contrast.III. T
UNGSTEN
-P
INCHES AT
80 kAFig. 2 shows a sequence of interferograms taken at severalpoints during the drive-current rise time in a series of exper-iments. The electrode gap in these images is 10 mm, and thespatial resolution is better than 20
μ
m. The high resolution of the interferometer images allows magnification of the regionclose to the
-pinch cross point and analysis of the ablation
Fig. 2. Sequence of the four interferograms taken during sequential shots at18–49 ns after the current start.Fig. 3. Expansion o
X
-pinch interferogram (39-ns frame from Fig. 2),showing flare structure and (magnified) positions of lineouts for analysis.
“flares.” The region toward the top of the images (marked“Fringe Reference Region”) does not show measurable fringeshift relative to the background image in any of the experimen-tal images recorded, and this provides a convenient region of zero electron density from which to measure fringe shift.The magnified section in Fig. 3 shows the location of theablation “flares” examined here, along with the position of thelineouts taken. The “stream” and “gap” positions are taken asthe local maximum and minimum fringe shifts, respectively.These are recorded at several positions along the ablationstructure, at 90
to the wire core.For a 532-nm laser, the fringe shift
is related to the arealelectron density by
 
n
e
(
cm
3
)
dl
= 4
.
2
×
10
17
f.
(2)The minimum sensitivity of the interferometer is approxi-mately one-fourth of a fringe shift
(
n
e
dl
1
×
10
17
cm
2
)
,and the maximum is set by deflection of the laser outside the
Authorized licensed use limited to: Univ of Calif San Diego. Downloaded on November 19, 2008 at 19:05 from IEEE Xplore. Restrictions apply.
 
BOTT
et al.
: QUANTITATIVE MEASUREMENTS OF WIRE ABLATION IN TUNGSTEN
X
-PINCHES AT 80 kA 2761
Fig. 4. Electron density lineouts for “stream” and “gap” positions from 18 to 49 ns.
collection angle for the optics, which corresponds to
n
e
dl
10
19
cm
2
. For these experiments, only two wires are present,and therefore, the integrated electron density measured is theresult of a single ablation “stream” or “gap.” The measuredelectron density is shown in Fig. 4 as a function of bothradial distance along each of the four lineouts shown earlierand of time as the experiment progresses. For each imagein the sequence, a starting position (Stream2) is correlatedas closely as possible between experiments, and subsequentlineouts are taken at neighboring stream and gap positions.The radial position of the ablation structure was observed tobe highly reproducible in these experiments, and the positionof “Stream2,” for example, varied by considerably less thanthe structure periodicity (average stream-to-stream distance)of 
140
μ
m.Initially,measurements along alllineouts areclosetothesen-sitivity limit, and little variation is seen with radius or axial po-sition. At 31 ns, measurements close to the wire core are abovethe detection threshold, and both “stream” positions show a no-ticeablyhigherelectrondensitythanthegappositions.At39ns,thedensityhasagainincreased,andthe“stream”positioncloserto the global axis (Stream2) shows a greater density than the“stream” position farther away (Stream1). Both “gap” positionsremain similar to each other and lower than the “streams.” At49 ns, the density is again increased, reaching
1
.
1
×
10
18
cm
3
for Stream2 at 0.25 mm from the wire core. As for the 39-nsimage, this remains the highest density plot, followed byStream1, and then the two “gap” positions.These measured values can be compared to the rocket modelof wire ablation by assuming an average ionization state toconvert from electron density to ion and, hence, mass density.For these data, we assume that
= 10
for all spatial positionsand times analyzed. This ionization state is an estimate andindicates a temperature of 
15 eV in the ablated plasma forthe density range measures. This does not contradict the XUVframing images of the flaring structures and therefore can betaken as a reasonable assumption. The ablation velocity istaken as
1
.
5
×
10
5
m
·
s
1
[5], and an average of the line-outpositions relative to the global axis defines the
R
0
parameteras 1 mm.The data, in general, lie close to the radial profiles estimatedusing the rocket model. The stream positions lie close to orabove the model in many radial positions, while the gaps liebelow the model in all cases. This indicates that the rocketmodel provides a good estimate of the average mass ablationrate for these
-pinch experiments. As shown earlier, the twostream positions show different densities due to their differentlocations relative to the axis. The last plot (bottom right) inFig. 5 shows this difference compared to the rocket modelfor the exact position of the streams, to indicate that a smalldifference is expected for these locations, and this is similarto that observed. This demonstrates the wide applicability of the momentum balance assumed in the rocket model, using afixed ablation velocity despite the changing
×
B
global
forcein these experiments.IV. D
ENSITY
C
ONTRAST OF
A
BLATION
F
LARE
S
TRUCTURE
In addition to measuring the radial variation of the ablationstructure density, the data provide an indication of the densitycontrast between stream and gap positions. Such informationmay provide additional constraints on the possible mechanisms
Authorized licensed use limited to: Univ of Calif San Diego. Downloaded on November 19, 2008 at 19:05 from IEEE Xplore. Restrictions apply.

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