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Title: Study of the internal structure, instabilities, and magnetic fields in the dense Z-pinch

Z-pinches are sources of hot dense plasma which generates powerful x-ray bursts and can been applied to various areas of high-energy-density physics (HEDP). The 26-MA Z machine is at the forefront of many of these applications but important aspects of HEDP have been studied on generators at the 1 MA current level. Recent development of laser diagnostics and upgrade of the Leopard laser at Nevada Terawatt Facility (NTF) give new opportunities for the dense Z-pinch study. The goal of this project is the investigation of the internal structure of the stagnated Z pinch including sub-mm and micron-scale instabilities, plasma dynamics, magnetic fields, and hot spots formation and initiation. New plasma diagnostics will be developed for this project. A 3D structure and instabilities of the pinch will be compared with 3D MHD and spectroscopic modeling and theoretical analysis. The structure and dynamics of stagnated Z pinches has been studied with x-ray self-radiation diagnostics which derive a temperature map of the pinch with a spatial resolution of 70-150 µm. The regular laser diagnostics at 532 nm does not penetrate in the dense pinch due to strong absorption and refraction in trailing plasma. Recent experiments at NTF showed that shadowgraphy at the UVmore » wavelength of 266 nm unfolds a fine structure of the stagnated Z-pinch with unprecedented detail. We propose to develop laser UV diagnostics for Z pinches with a spatial resolution <5 μm to study the small-scale plasma structures, implement two-frame shadowgraphy/interferometry, and develop methods for investigation of strong magnetic fields. New diagnostics will help to understand better basic physical processes in Z pinches. A 3D internal structure of the pinch and characteristic instabilities will be studied in wire arrays with different configurations and compared with 3D MHD simulations and analytical models. Mechanisms of “enhanced heating” of Z-pinch plasma will be studied. Fast dynamics of stagnated plasma will be studied to estimate its contribution to the Doppler broadening of x-ray lines. Development of “necks” and “hot spots” will be studied with high-resolution UV diagnostics, an x-ray streak camera, and x-ray spectroscopy. Laser initiation of hot spots in Z pinches will be tested. A Faraday rotation diagnostic at 266 nm will be applied to 1-10 MG magnetic fields. For magnetic fields B>20 MG, suggested in micropinches, Cotton-Mouton and cutoff diagnostics will be applied. A picosecond optical Kerr shutter will be tested to increase a sensitivity of UV methods for application at multi-MA Z pinches. The proposal is based on the experimental capability of NTF. The Zebra generator produces 1-1.7 MA Z-pinches with electron plasma density of 1020-1021cm-3, electron temperature of 0.5-1 keV, and magnetic fields >10 MG. The Leopard laser was upgraded to energy of 90-J at 0.8 ns. This regime will be used for laser initiation of hot spots. A further upgrade to energy of 250-J is suggested for laser-Z-pinch interaction. A picosecond regime will be used for optical gating. A 10-TW Tomcat laser at NTF is available for the high energy UV laser probing of the Z-pinch. Two graduate students will develop new optical and x-ray diagnostics, carry out experiments, and process experimental data. Other students will be involved in the design and fabrication of loads, supporting regular optical and x-ray diagnostics, and data processing. The new plasma diagnostics may be applied to HEDP experiments at NTF and other multi-MA generators. The feasibility of the research plan is based on the experience of the scientific team in Z-pinch plasma physics, laser physics, development of new plasma diagnostics, and the experimental capability of NTF. The experimental group of Dr. V. V. Ivanov (UNR) collaborates with a group for Z pinch MHD modeling of Dr. J. P. Chittenden (Imperial College, London), and theoretical group of Dr. D. D. Ryutov (LLNL). The suggested research ideas are supported by preliminary experiments.« less
  1. Univ. of Nevada, Reno, NV (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Univ. of Nevada, Reno, NV (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) (SC-24)
Contributing Orgs:
Imperial College, London (United Kingdom)
Country of Publication:
United States
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY Z pinch; magnetized plasma; plasma instability