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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Dynamics and density distributions in a capillary-discharge waveguide with an embedded supersonic jet

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We present an analysis of the gas dynamics and density distributions within a capillary-discharge waveguide with an embedded supersonic jet. This device provides a target for a laser plasma accelerator which uses longitudinal structuring of the gas-density profile to enable control of electron trapping and acceleration. The functionality of the device depends sensitively on the details of the density profile, which are determined by the interaction between the pulsed gas in the jet and the continuously-flowing gas in the capillary. These dynamics are captured by spatially resolving recombination light from several emission lines of the plasma as a function of the delay between the jet and the discharge. We provide a phenomenological description of the gas dynamics as well as a quantitative evaluation of the density evolution. In particular, we show that the pressure difference between the jet and the capillary defines three regimes of operation with qualitatively different longitudinal density profiles and show that jet timing provides a sensitive method for tuning between these regimes.

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