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Homogeneous, Micron-Scale High-Energy-Density Matter Generated by Relativistic Laser-Solid Interactions

Sep 21, 2022. Publications

Abstract

Short-pulse, laser-solid interactions provide a unique platform for studying complex high-energy-density matter. We present the first demonstration of solid-density, micron-scale keV plasmas uniformly heated by a high-contrast, 400 nm wavelength laser at intensities up to 2×1021  W/cm2. High-resolution spectral analysis of x-ray emission reveals uniform heating up to 3.0 keV over 1  µm depths. Particle-in-cell simulations indicate the production of a uniformly heated keV plasma to depths of 2  μm. The significant bulk heating and presence of highly ionized ions deep within the target are attributed to the few MeV hot electrons that become trapped and undergo refluxing within the target sheath fields. These conditions enabled the differentiation of atomic physics models of ionization potential depression in high-energy-density environments.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.129.135001

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