Extreme degree of ionization in homogenous micro-capillary plasma columns heated by ultrafast current pulses

G. Avaria, M. Grisham, J. Li, F. G. Tomasel, V. N. Shlyaptsev, M. Busquet, M. Woolston, J. J. Rocca

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12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Homogeneous plasma columns with ionization levels typical of megaampere discharges are created by rapidly heating gas-filled 520-μm-diameter channels with nanosecond rise time current pulses of 40 kA. Current densities of up to 0.3GAcm-2 greatly increase Joule heating with respect to conventional capillary discharge Z pinches, reaching unprecedented degrees of ionization for a high-Z plasma column heated by a current pulse of remarkably low amplitude. Dense xenon plasmas are ionized to Xe28+, while xenon impurities in hydrogen discharges reach Xe30+. The unique characteristics of these hot, ∼300:1 length-to-diameter aspect ratio plasmas allow the observation of unexpected spectroscopic phenomena. Axial spectra show the unusual dominance of the intercombination line over the resonance line of He-like Al by nearly an order of magnitude, caused by differences in opacities in the axial and radial directions. These plasma columns could enable the development of sub-10-nm x-ray lasers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number095001
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume114
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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