This paper describes the design considerations for Target Diffraction In-Situ (TARDIS), an x-ray diffraction diagnostic
at the National Ignition Facility. A crystal sample is ramp-compressed to peak pressures between 10 and 30 Mbar and,
during a pressure hold period, is probed with quasi-monochromatic x-rays emanating from a backlighter source foil. The
crystal spectrography diffraction lines are recorded onto image plates. The crystal sample, filter, and image plates are
packaged into one assembly, allowing for accurate and repeatable target to image plate registration. Unconverted laser
light impinges upon the device, generating debris, the effects of which have been mitigated. Dimpled blast shields, high
strength steel alloy, and high-z tungsten are used to shield and protect the image plates. A tapered opening was designed
to provide adequate thickness of shielding materials without blocking the drive beams or x-ray source from reaching the
crystal target. The high strength steel unit serves as a mount for the crystal target and x-ray source foil. A tungsten body
contains the imaging components. Inside this sub-assembly, there are three image plates: a 160 degree field of view
curved plate directly opposite the target opening and two flat plates for the top and bottom. A polycarbonate frame,
coated with the appropriate filter material and embedded with registration features for image plate location, is inserted
into the diagnostic body. The target assembly is metrologized and then the diagnostic assembly is attached.
DIXI (dilation x-ray imager) will be used to characterize ICF (inertial confinement fusion) implosions on the NIF. DIXI utilizes pulse-dilation technology1 to achieve x-ray imaging with temporal gate times below 10 ps. Time resolved x-ray measurements were conducted using the COMET laser facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Here we focus on some of the challenges faced by the large aperture photo cathode of the instrument and report on how to maintain a at photo cathode as well as how the required spatial resolution of the instrument is achieved.
We report clear evidence of the existence of multiply ionized plasmas with index of refraction greater than one at soft x-ray wavelengths. Moreover, it is shown to be a general phenomenon affecting broad spectral regions in numerous highly ionized plasmas. The experimental evidence consists of the observation of anomalous fringe shifts in soft x-ray laser interferograms of laser-created Al plasmas probed at 14.7 nm and of Ag and Sn laser-created plasmas probed at 46.9 nm. The comparison of measured and simulated interferograms shows that these anomalous fringe shifts result from the dominant contribution of low charge ions to the index of refraction. This usually neglected bound electron contribution can affect the propagation of soft x-ray radiation in plasmas and the interferometric diagnostics of plasmas for many elements and at different wavelengths.
We have used soft x-ray laser interferometry to study dense colliding plasmas produced by laser irradiation of semi-cylindrical targets. Results are reported on the evolution of 1 mm long plasmas created by heating 500 μm diameter half holhraum copper targets with an intensity of ~1.6 1012 W.cm-2 from 120 ps duration laser pulses of 800 nm wavelength. The setup combines a robust high throughput amplitude division interferometer based on diffraction gratings with a 46.9 nm table-top capillary discharge laser. Series of high contrast interferograms were obtained depicting the evolution of the copper plasmas into a localized plasma that reaches densities above 1×1020 cm-3 when the plasmas collide near the center of the cavity. The technique allows the generation of high resolution density maps of colliding plasma with various degree of collisionality for comparison with code simulations.
We model recent experiments done using the COMET laser at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to illuminate slab targets of Pd up to 1.25 cm long with a two joule, 600 ps prepulse followed 700 psec later by a six joule, six psec drive pulse. The experiments measure the two-dimensional near-field and far-field laser patterns for the 14.7 nm Ni-like Pd x-ray laser line. The experiments are modeled using the LASNEX code to calculate the hydrodynamic evolution of the plasma and provide the temperatures and densities to the CRETIN code, which then does the kinetics calculations to determine the gain. Using a ray tracing code to simulate the near and far-field output the simulations are then compared with experiments. In addition we model recent experiments that used a streak camera to measure the time duration of the Pd X-ray laser when pumped with a constant energy short pulse with different time durations that ranged from 0.5 to 27 ps.
Compact soft x-ray laser sources are now used routinely for various applications primarily because of their high repetition rate, high photon fluence and short pulse duration characteristics. For some of these applications, for example interferometry of high density laser-produced plasmas, longer optical drive pulses, 6 - 13 ps (FWHM), have been implemented to maximize the x-ray output and coherence. It is therefore important to know the x-ray laser pulse length, shape and repeatability for these specific experiments as a baseline measurement but also to better understand the temporal behavior as a function of the pumping conditions in general. We report a detailed temporal characterization of the picosecond-driven 14.7 nm Ni-like Pd ion x-ray laser on the Compact Multipulse Terawatt (COMET) laser at LLNL using an ultrafast x-ray streak camera measurement of a horizontal slice of the near-field x-ray laser pattern. This is measured as a function of the chirped pulse amplification pumping laser conditions, including varying the pump pulse from 0.5 - 27 ps (FWHM), varying the plasma column length as well as investigating traveling wave (TW) and non-TW irradiation conditions.
Advances in transient collisional x-ray lasers have been demonstrated over the last 5 years as a technique for achieving tabletop soft x-ray lasers using 2 - 10 J of laser pump energy. The high peak brightness of these sources operating in the high output saturation regime, in the range of 1024 - 1025 ph. mm-2 mrad-2 s-1 (0.1% BW) -1, is ideal for many applications requiring high photon fluence in a single short burst. However, the pump energy required for these x-ray lasers is still relatively high and limits the x-ray laser repetition rate to 1 shot every few minutes. Higher repetition rate collisional schemes have been reported and show some promise for high output in the future. We report a novel technique for enhancing the coupling efficiency of the laser pump into the gain medium that could lead to enhanced x-ray inversion with a factor of ten reduction in the drive energy. This has been applied to the collisional excitation scheme for Ni-like Mo at 18.9 nm and x-ray laser output has been demonstrated. Prelimanry results show lasing on a single shot of the optical laser operating at 10 Hz and with 70 mJ in the short pulse. Such a proposed source would have higher average brightness, ~1014 ph. mm-2 mrad-2 s-1 (0.1% BW) -1, than present bending magnet 3rd generation synchrotron sources operating at the same spectral range.
We present within this paper a series of experiments, which yield new observations to further our understanding of the transient collisional x-ray laser medium. We use the recently developed technique of picosecond x-ray laser interferometry to probe the plasma conditions in which the x-ray laser is generated and propagates. This yields two dimensional electron density maps of the plasma taken at different times relative to the peak of the 600ps plasma-forming beam. In another experimental campaign, the output of the x-ray laser plasma column is imaged with a spherical multilayer mirror onto a CCD camera to give a two-dimensional intensity map of the x-ray laser output. Near-field imaging gives insights into refraction, output intensity and spatial mode structure. Combining these images with the density maps gives an indication of the electron density at which the x-ray laser is being emitted at (yielding insights into the effect of density gradients on beam propagation). Experimental observations coupled with simulations predict that most effective coupling of laser pump energy occurs when the duration of the main heating pulse is comparable to the gain lifetime (~10ps for Ni-like schemes). This can increase the output intensity by more than an order of magnitude relative to the case were the same pumping energy is delivered within a shorter heating pulse duration (< 3ps). We have also conducted an experiment in which the output of the x-ray laser was imaged onto the entrance slit of a high temporal resolution streak camera. This effectively takes a one-dimensional slice of the x-ray laser spatial profile and sweeps it in time. Under some conditions we observe rapid movement of the x-ray laser (~ 3um/ps) towards the target surface.
During recent months we have continued investigations of many different aspects of x-ray lasers to characterize and improve the source and applications. This work has included temporal characterization of existing laser-heated x-ray lasers under a wide range of pumping conditions. We have also looked into more details at different applications of x-ray lasers among which was the interferometry of laser-produced and capillary discharge plasmas in several irradiation conditions for different target Z materials. The reduction of pump energy remains the most important for the generation of new compact x-ray lasers. Numerical studies show that there are some ways to improve several of the key parameters of x-ray lasers specifically repetition rates and efficiency.
We present the longitudinal coherence measurement of the transient inversion collisional x-ray laser for the first time. The Ni-like Pd x-ray laser at 14.68 nm is generated by the LLNL COMET laser facility and is operating in the gain-saturated regime. Interference fringes are produced using a Michelson interferometer setup in which a thin multilayer-coated membrane is used as a beam splitter. The longitudinal coherence length for the picosecond duration 4d1S0 -> 4p1P1 lasing transition is determined to be ~400 µm (1/e HW) by adjusting the length of one interferometer arm and measuring the resultant variation in fringe visibility. This is four times improved coherence than previous measurements on quasi-steady state schemes largely as a result of the narrower line profile in the lower temperature plasma. The inferred gain-narrowed linewidth of ~0.29 pm is also substantially narrower than previous measurements on quasi-steady state x-ray laser schemes. This study shows that the coherence of the x-ray laser beam can be improved by changing the laser pumping conditions. The x-ray laser is operating at 4 - 5 times the transform-limited pulse.
X-ray laser induced time-of-flight photoelectron spectroscopy has been used to probe the core-level and valence band electronic structure of room-temperature bulk materials with picosecond time resolution. The LLNL COMET compact tabletop x-ray laser source provides the necessary high photon flux, high energy, monochromaticity, picosecond pulse duration, and coherence for probing ultrafast changes in the chemical and electronic structure of these materials. Valence band and core-level spectra were recorded for transition metal surfaces. In situ sputter etching with Ar ions at 30° incidence will be implemented to improve the surface purity and consequently increase core-level and valence-band photoemission intensity. This work demonstrates a powerful new technique for probing reaction dynamics and for probing changes of local order on surfaces on their fundamental timescales. Future work will include the study of fundamental phenomena such as non-thermal melting, chemical bond formation, intermediate reaction steps, and the existence of transient reaction products.
Metrology of XUV beams and more specifically X-ray laser (XRL) beam is of crucial importance for development of applications. We have then developed several new optical systems enabling to measure the x-ray laser optical properties. By use of a Michelson interferometer working as a Fourier-Transform spectrometer, the line shapes of different x-ray lasers have been measured with an unprecedented accuracy (δλ/λ~10-6). Achievement of the first XUV wavefront sensor has enable to measure the beam quality of laser-pumped as well as discharge pumped x-ray lasers. Capillary discharge XRL has demonstrated a very good wavefront allowing to achieve intensity as high 3*1014 Wcm-2 by focusing with a f = 5 cm mirror. The measured sensor accuracy is as good as λ/120 at 13 nm. Commercial developments are under way.
We summarize results of several successful dense plasma diagnostics experiments realized combining two different kinds of table-top soft x-ray lasers with an amplitude division interferometer based on diffraction grating beam splitters. In the first set of experiments this robust high throughput diffraction grating interferometer (DGI) was used with a 46.9 nm portable capillary discharge laser to study the dynamics of line focus and point focus laser-created plasmas. The measured electron density profiles, which differ significantly from those expected from a classical expansion, unveil important twodimensional effects of the dynamics of these plasmas. A second DGI customized to operate in combination with a 14.7 nm Ni-like Pd transient gain laser was used to perform interferometry of line focus laser-created plasmas with picosecond time resolution. These measurements provide valuable new benchmarks for complex hydrodynamic codes and help bring new understanding of the dynamics of dense plasmas. The instrumentation and methodology we describe is scalable to significantly shorter wavelengths, and constitutes a promising scheme for extending interferometry to the study of very dense
plasmas such as those investigated for inertial confinment fusion.
The rapid development of laser technology and related progress in research using lasers is shifting the boundaries where laser based sources are preferred over other light sources particularly in the XUV and x-ray spectral region. Laser based sources have exceptional capability for short pulse and high brightness and with improvements in high repetition rate pulsed operation, such sources are also becoming more interesting for their average power capability. This study presents an evaluation of the current capabilities and near term future potential of laser based light sources and summarizes, for the purpose of comparison, the characteristics and near term prospects of sources based on synchrotron radiation and free electron lasers. Conclusions are drawn on areas where the development of laser based sources is most promising and competitive in terms of applications potential.
In this work we demonstrate a soft x-ray laser with neon- like argon ions using a gas puff target irradiated with a combination of long 600 ps and short 6 ps high-power laser pulses with a total of 10 J energy. The gas puff target was formed by pulsed injection of gas from a high-pressure solenoid valve through a nozzle in the form of a narrow slit. The target was irradiated in a traveling-wave excitation geometry. Lasing was observed on the 3p 1S0 implies 3s 1P1 transition at 46.9 nm and the 3d 1P1 implies 3p 1P1 transition at 45.1 nm. Gain of 11 cm-1 was measured on these transitions for targets up to 0.9 cm long.
The development of the transient collisional excitation x-ray laser scheme using tabletop laser systems with multiple pulse capability has progressed rapidly in the last three years. The high small-signal gain and strong x-ray output have been demonstrated for laser drive energies of typically less than 10 J. We report recent x-ray laser experiments on the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) Compact Multipulse Terawatt (COMET) tabletop facility using this technique. In particular, the saturated output from the Ni-like Pd ion 4d - 4p x-ray laser at 146.8 angstrom has been well characterized and has potential towards a useable x-ray source in a number of applications. One important application of a short wavelength x-ray laser beam with picosecond pulse duration is the study of a high density laser-produced plasma. We report the implementation of a Mach-Zehnder type interferometer using diffraction grating optics as beam splitters designed for the Ni-like Pd laser and show results from probing a 600 ps heated plasma. In addition, gas puff targets are investigated as an x-ray laser gain medium and we report results of strong lasing on the n equals 3 - 3 transitions of Ne-like Ar.
Saturated operation of an X-ray laser is desirable as a high output irradiance is obtained with reduced shot-to-short variation. The potential of saturated X-ray laser output in probing plasma samples is first investigated. The laser pumping requirements to scale Ni-like saturated X-ray laser output to shorter wavelengths is then analyzed using published atomic physics data and a simple 4-level laser model for gain. A model of amplified spontaneous emission has been modified to accurately predict experimentally observed saturation behavior obtained in different experiments at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. In particular, the effects of traveling wave pumping with short duration (approximately 1 ps) laser pulses are investigated. Simulations of Ne-like Ge resonance line emission are compared to experimentally measured spectra.
This work has consisted in demonstrating that high gain can be achieved by pumping x-ray lasers (XRL) with a combination of a high intensity and short duration driving pulses (approximately 100 ps). Short pulses are very well suited for pumping collisional XRL since a high lasant ion density, electron density and temperature can be achieved simultaneously. We have successfully tested this pumping scheme on the 4d-4p (J equals 0 - 1) transition of Ni-like tin (lambda approximately 11.93 nm) and silver (lambda approximately 13.89 nm) as well as on the 3p-3s (J equals 0 - 1) Ne-like iron (lambda approximately 25.5 nm) at an intensity of approximately 2 X 1013 Wcm-2 (130 ps in duration). The driving laser (lambda equals 1.06 micrometer) was composed of three pulses (a prepulse and two main pulses). Large amplifications were demonstrated in tin and silver (respectively GL approximately 12 and GL approximately 16). Finally, the saturation of the 3p-3s (J equals 0 - 1) transition of Ne-like iron at 25.5 nm was achieved on both pumping pulses, using a prepulse of 109 Wcm-2. A gain coefficient of 15 plus or minus 3 cm-1 (GL approximately 26 plus or minus 5) on the first main pulse and 12 plus or minus cm-1 (GL approximately 23 plus or minus 2) on the second one was measured.
The use of multi-pulse irradiation of neon-like ions has been shown to produce orders-of-magnitude enhancement of x-ray laser output. Recent results obtained at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory are reviewed with an emphasis on understanding the reasons for the enhancement. Simulations with the fluid and atomic physics code EHYBRID are used to show that enhancement occurs because of a spatial enlargement of the gain region and consequent better propagation of the x- ray laser beam along the gain region.
We report the first demonstration of saturation in nickel-like x-ray lasers, specifically nickel-like Ag, In, Sn, and Sm x- ray lasers at wavelengths of 14, 12.6, 12.0 and 7.3 nm respectively. These x-ray lasers were found to be very monochromatic x-ray sources with the laser lines completely dominating the output spectra. Using high-resolution spatial imaging and angularly resolved streaking techniques, the output source sizes as well as the time histories, divergences, energies and spatial profiles of these x-ray lasers have been fully characterized. The output intensities of these x-ray lasers were measured to be in the range of 0.7 - 2 X 1011 W (DOT) cm-2 in approximately 40 ps. The high monochromaticity, narrow divergence, short pulse duration, high efficiency and high brightness of these x-ray lasers make them ideal candidates for many applications.