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Jorge Filevich et al- Bow shocks formed by plasma collisions in laser irradiated semi-cylindrical cavities

Jorge Filevich et al- Bow shocks formed by plasma collisions in laser irradiated semi-cylindrical cavities

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Bow shocks formed by plasma collisions in laser irradiatedsemi-cylindrical cavities
 Jorge Filevich
a
,
*
, MichaelPurvis
a
, JonathanGrava
a
, Duncan P. Ryan
b
, James Dunn
c
, Stephen J. Moon
c
,Vyacheslav N. Shlyaptsev
a
, Jorge J. Rocca
a
,
b
a
NSF ERC for Extreme Ultraviolet Science and Technology and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
b
Department of Physics, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
c
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA 94551, USA
a r t i c l e i n f o
 Article history:
Received 26 February 2009Received in revised form3 April 2009Accepted 3 April 2009Available online 16 April 2009
PACS:
52.50.Jm52.65.-y52.70.-m42.55.Vc
Keywords:
Soft X-ray lasersPlasma shocksInterferometryPlasma simulations
a b s t r a c t
The formation of shocks in plasmas created by short pulse laser irradiation (
l
¼
800 nm,
z
1
Â
10
12
Wcm
À
2
) of semi-cylindrical cavities of different materials was studied combining visible andsoft X-ray laser interferometry with simulations. The plasma rapidly converges near the axis to forma dense bright plasma focus. Later in time a long lasting bow shock is observed to develop outside thecavity, that is shown to arise from the collision of plasmas originating from within the cavity and thesurrounding flat walls of the target. The shock is sustained for tens of nanoseconds by the continuousarrival of plasma ablated from the target walls. The plasmas created from the heavier target materialsevolve more slowly, resulting in increased shock lifetimes.
Ó
2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
The collision and subsequent interaction of dense plasmascreated by intense laser irradiation of cylindrical cavities are of interest for fundamental and practical reasons[1–3]. We haverecently reported the study of semi-cylindrical cavity plasmasusing soft X-ray laser interferometry and hydrodynamic simula-tions[4]. Aluminum and carbon plasmas were created by irradi-ating half-cylinder cavities at intensities of 1
Â
10
12
Wcm
À
2
with120 ps duration optical laser pulses. The plasmas were interfero-metrically probed with 46.9 nm laser light to obtain electrondensity maps at different times throughout their evolution. Thereduced refraction of the soft X-ray probe relative to an opticalprobeallowsthemappingof the electrondensityinplasma regionswith higher density gradients[5,6]. In this semi-cylindrical targetgeometry pressure gradients at the walls radially accelerate theplasma towards a location near the cavity axis, where it collidesformingabrighthighdensityplasmafocuswithanelectrondensity
>
1
Â
10
20
cm
À
3
. During the study of these plasmas we alsoobserved extreme ultraviolet plasma self-emission from a long andnarrowarc outside the cavity (seeFig.1), indicative of the presenceofabowshock.Bowshocksareofinterestsinastrophysics[7,8]andhave been studied in the laboratory[9].Hereinwereportthe studyof theseshocksusinginterferometryand two-dimensional radiation hydrodynamic code simulations.Optical interferometry was used to complement soft X-ray laserinterferometry in mapping the lower density regions where theshorter wavelength probe is insensitive. The combination of bothinterferometry techniques provides the ability to measure, forthese particular plasmas, electron densities within the range from5
Â
10
17
cm
À
3
to 1
Â
10
20
cm
À
3
, with the highest value limited byprobe beam refraction.
2. Experimental setup
The plasmas were created using a Ti:Sapphire laser beam toheat 500
m
m diameter semi-cylindrical grooves machined into
*
Corrresponding author.
E-mail address:
Contents lists available atScienceDirect
High Energy Density Physics
1574-1818/$ – see front matter
Ó
2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.doi:10.1016/j.hedp.2009.04.003
High Energy Density Physics 5 (2009) 276–282
 
1 mm thick slabs of different materials with intensities of 
w
1
Â
10
12
Wcm
À
2
. The 120 ps short duration of the heating laserpulse results in rapid deposition of laser energy, making it possibleto study the evolution of the plasma without further laser–plasmainteraction. Studies were performed for carbon, aluminum, copperand silver targets. The Ti:Sapphire laser beam was focused into thegroove forming a line focus of 
w
470
m
m FWHM and of 
w
1.3 mmlength. The position and intensity distribution of the line focuswere monitored for every laser shot by imaging the reflection of the beam off an optical flat onto a CCD camera placed at a distanceequivalent to that of the target.The plasmas were imaged onto an MCP/CCD (Multi ChannelPlate/Charged-Coupled Device) detector system with 25
Â
magni-fication using a spherical Sc/Si multilayer-coated mirror. Theplasmas were probed using two different interferometers to mapthe high and low electron density regions. The first is a Mach-Zehnder interferometer that operates at
l
¼
46.9 nm[6]usingdiffraction gratings to split the beam of a table-top 46.9 nm Ne-like Ar capillary discharge laser. In this laser a fast electricaldischarge current pulse compresses the plasma generated in anargon-filled capillary tube to generate a population inversion andamplification in the
¼
0–1 3
 p
–3
s
line of Ne-like Ar[10]. The laserdelivered pulses of 
w
1 ns duration and
w
0.15 mJ of energy[11].The temporal jitter between the capillary discharge laser probeand the plasma heating laser pulse was reduced to less than 2 nsby laser triggering the capillary discharge main spark gap. Thisshort wavelength probe can access the densities present in theearly stages of the evolution of the plasma, in particular the regionof the high density plasma focus. The second interferometer, usedto probe the lower density regions in the plasma, is a Mach-Zehnder interferometer that operates at
l
¼
532 nm. The temporalresolution of this visible interferometer is determined by therelatively long pulse,
w
8 ns FWHM, of the frequency doubledQ-switched Nd:YAG laser probe used. This pulse duration isnevertheless sufficiently short to probe the regions of the plasmawith a relatively slow varying density. The probe laser and theTi:Sapphire plasma heating laser were synchronized with a jitterof less than 1 ns. The target was positioned to intersect one of thearms of the interferometer by using motorized translation stages.The plasma was probed using one of the two probe wavelengths ata time.The experimentalgeometry is showninFig. 2(a).The cavity wasirradiated at normal incidence with respect to the flat front surfaceof thetargetwhiletheprobebeampropagatedalongtheaxisof the1 mm long semi-cylindrical cavity. The plasma was imaged ontoa CCD camera with a magnification of 20
Â
using an
¼
20 cm lens.Anarrowbandfiltercenteredat
l
¼
532 nmwas used toreducetheplasma self-emission collected by the imaging system. The reso-lution of this imaging system determined by the 10–90% rise ona knife edge image was
w
10
m
m.Electrondensitymapswereobtainedfromtheinterferogramsbyassuming that the plasma is uniform along the direction of propa-gationandthattheindexofrefractionoftheplasmaisdominatedbythe free electrons[12]. Under these conditions the electron densitycan be directlyobtained fromthe measured numberof fringe shifts
Fig.1.
Time integrated extreme ultraviolet emission from a Cu plasma created by laserirradiation of a semi-cylindrical target.
Fig. 2.
(a) Schematic of the semi-cylindrical target showing the incident plasmaheating laser beam (from right to left) and the direction of propagation of the softX-ray laser probe beam (perpendicular to the page). (b) Soft X-ray laser (46.9 nm)interferogram of a copper plasma showing the dense plasma build up near the axis.
 J. Filevich et al. / High Energy Density Physics 5 (2009) 276–282
277
 
intheinterferograms(
¼ ð
n
e
Â
l
Þ
=
ð
2
Â
n
crit
Â
l
Þ
where
n
crit
isthecritical density of the plasma at wavelength
l
). For a
l
¼
1 mm longplasma, one fringe shift at 46.9 nm probe wavelength correspondsto
w
5
Â
10
19
cm
À
3
, while at 532 nm probe wavelength, one fringeshift corresponds to
w
4
Â
10
18
cm
À
3
. More detailed descriptions of the experimental setup used to create the plasma and of the softX-ray laser probe can be found in recent publications[4,6,13].
3. Experimental data
Fig. 1shows the time integrated extreme ultraviolet plasmaemission distribution corresponding to a copper plasma. Twobright regions are visible. The brightest region is located close tothe axis of the semi-cylinder where the expanding wall plasmaconverges and collides forming the plasma focus. The second islocated close to the target wall at the bottom of the cavity. A thirddimmer structure with the shape of an arc is seen to developoutside the cavity, far from the region directly heated by the laser.It was noticed that this arc structure appears in the self-emissionimages when the width of the plasma heating laser line focus waswide, i.e.
w
470
m
m FWHM, approaching the groove’s width. In thiscase the wings of the heating beam illuminate the frontal flatsurfacesurrounding the 500
m
m groove targetcreatinga plasma. Incontrast, the arc structure was not observed in plasmas generatedby a narrower line focus (
w
350
m
m FWHM).The dynamics of the denser regions of the plasma where largedensity gradients are present were mapped using the soft X-raylaser interferometer.Fig. 2(b) shows a soft X-ray laser interfero-gram of a Cu plasma obtained 7.6 ns after laser irradiation. Thewhite line indicates the target surface position. The wall plasmaconvergesintoasmallregionneartheaxiswhereitcollidestoforma plasma focus identifiable by a sharp increase in the electrondensity. The plasma focus develops as early as 1.7 ns, reachingdensities higher than 1
Â
10
20
cm
À
3
at 7.6 ns in agreement withsimulations. The simulations predict that the electron temperaturein the plasma focus region reaches 35 eV. The plasma in this region
Fig. 3.
Sequence of interferograms depicting the evolution of a Cu plasma. The probe beam wavelength used was 532 nm.
 J. Filevich et al. / High Energy Density Physics 5 (2009) 276–282
278

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