Rayleigh-Taylor-Induced electromagnetic fields in laser-produced plasmas
Author(s)Manuel, Mario John-Errol
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering.
Richard D. Petrasso.
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Spontaneous electromagnetic fields can be important to the dynamic evolution of a plasma by directing heat flow as well as providing additional pressures on the conducting fluids through the Lorentz force. Electromagnetic fields are predicted to affect fluid behavior during the core-collapse of supernovae through generation of fields due to hydrodynamic instabilities. In the coronae of stars, self-generated magnetic fields lead to filamentary structure in the hot plasma. Recent experiments by Gregori et al. investigated sources of protogalactic magnetic fields generated by laser-produced shock waves. In inertial confinement fusion experiments, self-generated electromagnetic fields can also play a role and have recently become of great interest to the community. Present day laser facilities provide a unique opportunity to study spontaneous field-generation in these extreme environments under controlled conditions. Instability-induced electromagnetic fields were investigated using a novel monoenergetic-proton radiography system. Fusion protons generated by an 'exploding-pusher' implosion were used to probe laser-irradiated plastic foils with various preimposed surface perturbations. Imaging protons are sensitive to electromagnetic fields and density modulations in the plasma through the Lorentz force and Coulomb collisions, respectively. Corresponding x-ray radiographs of these targets provided mass density distributions and Coulomb effects on protons were assessed using a Monte Carlo code written using the Geant4 framework. Proton fluence distributions were recorded on CR-39 detectors and Fourier analyzed to infer path-integrated field strengths. Rayleigh-Taylor (RT) growth of preimposed surface perturbations generated magnetic fields by the RT-induced Biermann battery and were measured for the first time. Good data were obtained during linear growth and when compared to ideal calculations, demonstrated that field diffusion near the source played an important role. At later times in the plasma evolution, 3-D cellular structures were observed for all foil types. These features were found to be analogous to previously observed filamentary field structures by Séguin et al. in laser-driven spherical targets. Face-on images of these field structures provided good data to quantitatively analyze the size of these features, not previously attainable due to the complexity of the 3-D spherical data. Work presented here demonstrates that these field structures are likely caused by the magnetothermal instability in the underdense corona.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Nuclear Science and Engineering, 2013.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Nuclear Science and Engineering.