Dr. Sam Vinko (University of Oxford, UK)

Investigating Hot-Dense Plasmas with X-ray Free-Electron Lasers
When Feb 13, 2017
from 02:00 PM to 03:00 PM
Where LR8
Contact Name
Contact Phone 01865-283446
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The past few years have seen a revolution in the field of X-ray science. The advent of the world’s first hard X-ray free-electron laser (FEL) – the Linac Coherent Light Source free-electron laser at SLAC – in one step in 2009 increased the spectral brightness of X-ray sources over that of any synchrotron on the planet by a factor of a billion. Spatially coherent, monochromatic, femtosecond X-ray pulses can now be routinely produced over a wide spectral range, enabling access to spatial and temporal scales of atomic processes in plasmas simultaneously for the first time. Importantly, focused FEL pulses are intense enough to create solid-density plasmas at temperatures of several 100 eV on ultra-short, inertially confined timescales, akin to the conditions found half-way into the centre of the sun [1]. The ability to create such systems in a controlled manner has allowed for the first detailed measurements of several fundamental properties of dense plasmas, such as the ionization potential depression [2,3] and electron collisional ionization rates [4], and has driven renewed theoretical interest [5]. Here I will discuss some of these advances and show how obtaining accurate experimental data in the notoriously challenging dense-plasma regime is needed to advance our understanding of systems of crucial importance to a range of astrophysical and inertial confinement fusion applications.
 [1] Vinko et al., Nature 482, 59–62 (2012).
 [2] Ciricosta et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 065002 (2012).
 [3] Ciricosta et al., Nature Communications 7, 11713 (2016).
 [4] Vinko et al., Nature Communications 6, 6397 (2015).
 [5] Vinko et al., Nature Communications 5, 3533 (2014).