- Conference date: 27-31 May 2002
- Location: Aspen, Colorado (USA)
We give an overview of recent capillary discharge‐driven soft x‐ray laser development experiments and applications at Colorado State University. We report the demonstration of the first desktop size soft x‐ray laser, a capillary discharge Ne‐like Ar soft x‐ray laser that was measured to emit laser pulses with energy up to 10 μJ at 46.9 nm. In relation to the development of capillary discharge lasers at shorter wavelengths, spectra of the highly ionized cadmium plasmas identified strong emission from the 4d1S0− 4p1P1 laser transition of Ni‐like Cd at 13.16 nm. We have also demonstrated optical guiding of intense laser pulses in the plasmas of an Ar capillary discharge, a result that is of interest for the development of efficient longitudinally pumped collisional soft x ‐ray lasers in a gaseous media. In term of applications, we summarize our continued progress in establishing capillary discharge lasers as a compact soft x‐ray source of coherent radiation for dense plasma diagnostics. The combination of a tabletop 46.9 nm capillary discharge Ne‐like Ar laser and a Mach‐Zehnder interferometer based on diffraction gratings was used to study two‐dimensional hydrodynamic effects in laser‐created plasmas. The short wavelength and high brightness of the capillary discharge soft x‐ray laser allowed us to map the density profile up to ∼1021 cm−3, close to the critical density. The interferometry of laser‐created plasmas created at moderate irradiation intensity (0.1 –7 × 1012 W cm−2) shows the development of a concave electron density profile that differ significantly from that expected for a classical expansion. Measurements involving line‐focus and spot‐focus laser created plasmas and hydrodynamic model simulations confirm this two‐dimensional effect is essentially a universal effect that exists over a wide space of plasma parameters. In a separate experiments we have used the same soft x‐ray laser interferometry tools to study the initial phase of the current‐driven explosion of thin Al wires which are of current interest for the generation of x‐ray radiation at large pulse power facilities. These measurements demonstrate the use of portable soft x‐ray laser interferometry as a high‐resolution tool for the study of high‐density plasmas and for the validation of hydrodynamic codes.
- Plasma diagnostics
- Laser interferometry
- Coherent radiation
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