Theoretical and Experimental Studies of Radiation from Z-Pinch Complex Wire Arrays and Applications
AuthorWeller, Michael E.
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In the research area of high energy density plasmas an ever increasing goal is searching for higher efficient radiators, particularly in z-pinch plasmas, and their applications. This goal is a major focus of this dissertation and implements both theoretical and experimental tools in the process. The theoretical tools involve the Wire Ablation Dynamics Model (WADM) to infer z-pinch implosion characteristics and various non-local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) kinetic models to understand the radiative properties of plasmas, including a new model for L-shell Ag. The experimental tools includes an advanced set of diagnostics, in particular a newly developed time-gated hard x-ray spectrometer to gain an understanding as to how these plasmas radiate in time, particularly in the 0.7 - 4.4 Å range. The experiments predominately took place on the 1.7 MA Zebra generator at the Nevada Terawatt Facility (NTF) at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). Traditional nested cylindrical wire arrays with mixed materials (brass and Al, Mo and Al) were tested to understand how the inner and outer arrays implode and radiate. Novel planar wire arrays, which have been shown to be very powerful radiation sources, arranged in single, double, and triple wire array configurations were tested with Mo and Ag materials, which have both been shown to be powerful radiators, and also mixed with Al to understand opacity effects and how a mixture of two different plasmas radiate. Radiation from the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) range has also been of recent interest due the substantial contribution into total radiation yields. Therefore EUV radiation of M-shell Cu was modeled and benchmarked with spheromak and laser-produced plasma data. Lastly, lasing gain from L-shell Ag is calculated as an application of the aforementioned model to evaluate whether lasing might be occurring in wire array z-pinches. In connection to creating a uniform plasma column to measure lasing lines, the split double planar wire array is introduced and preliminary results discussed.