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Using X-ray Thomson Scattering to Measure Plasma Conditions in Warm Dense Matter Experiments on the OMEGA Laser

  • Author(s): Saunders, Alison Marie-Anne
  • Advisor(s): Falcone, Roger W
  • Doeppner, Tilo
  • et al.
Abstract

High energy density physics (HEDP) is an emerging field that seeks to investigate the properties of matter at extreme conditions. High energy density conditions occur in materials with pressures exceeding 1 Mbar, or pressures that exceed Earth’s atmospheric pressure by a factor of more than a million. A regime of HEDP of particular interest is warm dense matter (WDM) physics, which describes the behavior of materials at near solid densities and 10’s of eV temperatures. WDM occurs in astrophysical objects, such as giant planets and brown dwarfs, and is also generated in inertial confinement fusion (ICF) experiments. X-ray Thomson scattering (XRTS) offers a powerful tool to probe the equation of state of WDM. XRTS spectra consist of two components: elastically scattered photons with the frequency of the original x-ray source and inelastically scattered photons that are down- shifted in frequency. The Compton-shifted profile of inelastically scattered x-rays can be analyzed to return the sample’s electron density and electron temperature. The ratio of elastically to inelastically scattered x-rays relates to the number of tightly bound versus free electrons, and thus reflects the ionization state.

This thesis discusses the results of XRTS experiments on WDM performed at the OMEGA Laser facility. The first experiment presents and discusses XRTS results from 1 mm diamond spheres. The scattering spectra show evidence of higher ionization than predicted by several commonly-applied ionization models. A second experiment analyzed the contributions to elastic scattering from a small argon impurity in imploding beryllium capsules. The exper- iment found that less than 1 at.% of argon significantly affects the elastic scattering signal strength, and concluded that impurities in a sample should be considered before drawing conclusions from elastic scattering signals. The final experiment uses XRTS to measure the electron temperature and ionization state in isochorically heated materials used in ion stopping power experiments. The results from these experiments demonstrate the power of XRTS to measure ionization in WDM to benchmark theoretical modeling.

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