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Title: Energy penetration into arrays of aligned nanowires irradiated with relativistic intensities: Scaling to terabar pressures

Ultrahigh-energy density (UHED) matter, characterized by energy densities >1 × 10 8 J cm –3 and pressures greater than a gigabar, is encountered in the center of stars and inertial confinement fusion capsules driven by the world’s largest lasers. Similar conditions can be obtained with compact, ultrahigh contrast, femtosecond lasers focused to relativistic intensities onto targets composed of aligned nanowire arrays. We report the measurement of the key physical process in determining the energy density deposited in high-aspect-ratio nanowire array plasmas: the energy penetration. By monitoring the x-ray emission from buried Co tracer segments in Ni nanowire arrays irradiated at an intensity of 4 × 10 19 W cm –2, we demonstrate energy penetration depths of several micrometers, leading to UHED plasmas of that size. As a result, relativistic three-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations, validated by these measurements, predict that irradiation of nanostructures at intensities of >1 × 10 22 W cm –2 will lead to a virtually unexplored extreme UHED plasma regime characterized by energy densities in excess of 8 × 10 10 J cm –3, equivalent to a pressure of 0.35 Tbar.
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  1. Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO (United States)
  2. Univ. de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires (Argentina)
  3. Heinrich-Heine-Univ. Dusseldorf, Dusseldorf (Germany)
  4. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
  5. ARTEP Inc., Ellicott City, MD (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2375-2548
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-07NA27344; HDTRA-1-10-1-0079
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Science Advances
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 3; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2375-2548
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) (SC-24); Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA)
Country of Publication:
United States
42 ENGINEERING; 75 CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS, SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AND SUPERFLUIDITY; laser matter interaction; relativistic plasmas; ultra-high energy density matter; ultra-high energy density plasmas
OSTI Identifier: