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Influence of Xe and Kr impurities on x-ray yield from debris-free plasma x-ray sources with an Ar supersonic gas jet irradiated by femtosecond near-infrared-wavelength laser pulses
AuthorKantsyrev, Victor L.
Schultz, K. A.
Shlyaptseva, V. V.
Petrov, G. M.
Safronova, A. S.
Petkov, Emil E.
Moschella, J. J.
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Many aspects of physical phenomena occurring when an intense laser pulse with subpicosecond duration and an intensity of 10(18)-10(19)W/cm(2) heats an underdense plasma in a supersonic clustered gas jet are studied to determine the relative contribution of thermal and nonthermal processes to soft-and hard-x-ray emission from debris-free plasmas. Experiments were performed at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) Leopard laser operated with a 15-J, 350-fs pulse and different pulse contrasts (10(7) or 10(5)). The supersonic linear (elongated) nozzle generated Xe cluster-monomer gas jets as well as jets with Kr-Ar or Xe-Kr-Ar mixtures with densities of 10(18)-10(19) cm(-3). Prior to laser heating experiments, all jets were probed with optical interferometry and Rayleigh scattering to measure jet density and cluster distribution parameters. The supersonic linear jet provides the capability to study the anisotropy of x-ray yield from laser plasma and also laser beam self-focusing in plasma, which leads to efficient x-ray generation. Plasma diagnostics included x-ray diodes, pinhole cameras, and spectrometers. Jet signatures of x-ray emission from pure Xe gas, as well as from a mixture with Ar and Kr, was found to be very different. The most intense x-ray emission in the 1-9 KeV spectral region was observed from gas mixtures rather than pure Xe. Also, this x-ray emission was strongly anisotropic with respect to the direction of laser beam polarization. Non-local thermodynamic equilibrium (Non-LTE) models have been implemented to analyze the x-ray spectra to determine the plasma temperature and election density. Evidence of electron beam generation in the supersonic jet plasma was found. The influence of the subpicosecond laser pulse contrast (a ratio between the laser peak intensity and pedestal pulse intensity) on the jets' x-ray emission characteristics is discussed. Surprisingly, itwas found that the x-ray yieldwas not sensitive to the prepulse contrast ratio.