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Z pinch imploding plasma density profile measurements using a two-frame laser shearing interferometer

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13 Author(s)
Niansheng Qi ; Alameda Appl. Sci. Corp., San Leandro, CA, USA ; J. Schein ; J. Thompson ; P. Coleman
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A laser shearing interferometer (LSI) was used to make spatially and temporally resolved measurements of the electron density profile in an imploding z pinch. Experiments were conducted on the 0.7-MA/250-ns Hawk machine, the 2.5-MA/100-ns ACE-4 machine, and the 3.8-MA/190-ns Double Eagle machine. Time and space resolved measurements of the current and plasma density are needed for better understanding of the implosion dynamics and stagnation physics of z pinches. The electron density profile can be obtained using an LSI. The LSI passes a short pulse, collimated laser beam across the imploding z pinch, which distorts the laser wavefront. the maximum wavefront distortion occurs where the density gradient is highest, such as across the current sheath. After passing through the pinch, the distorted wavefronts are split into two beams that are laterally displaced relative to one other. This shearing causes interference between these two wavefronts and produces an interferogram, from which the plasma density profiles are derived. In the experiments, a 150-ps laser pulse was split into two pulses with an interpulse delay of several tens. of nanoseconds. This pulse pair gave two snap shots of the electron density profiles during the 100-300-ns implosions. From these interferograms, electron densities and implosion velocities of the imploding plasmas were derived, the current sheath was observed, and the plasma ionization states, growth rates, and wavelengths of instabilities were estimated. The results motivate construction of an upgraded instrument with four or more frames and with an added laser polarimetry measurement (Faraday rotation) capability to obtain both electron and current profiles

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IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science  (Volume:30 ,  Issue: 1 )