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  1. Inference of joule-class THz radiation sources from microchannel targets driven with hundreds of joule, picosecond lasers is reported. THz sources of this magnitude are useful for nonlinear pumping of matter and for charged-particle acceleration and manipulation. Microchannel targets demonstrate increased laser–THz conversion efficiency compared to planar foil targets, with laser energy to THz energy conversion up to ∼0.9% in the best cases.

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  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
  3. Silica (SiO2) aerogel is widely used in high-energy-density shock experiments due to its low and adjustable density. Reported here are measurements of the shock velocity, optical radiance, and reflectivity of shocked SiO2 aerogel with initial densities of 0.1, 0.2, and 0.3 g/cm3. These results are compared with similar data from three solid polymorphs of SiO2, silica, quartz, and stishovite with initial densities 2.2, 2.65, and 4.3 g/cm3, respectively. Interestingly, below a brightness temperature of Tbright≈35,000 K, the slope of the radiance vs shock velocity is the same for each of the SiO2 aerogels and solid polymorphs. At Tbright≈35000 K, there is an abrupt change in the radiance vs shock velocity slope for aerogels, but not seen in the solid polymorphs over the pressures and temperatures explored here. An empirical model of shock front radiance as a function of SiO2 density and laser drive parameters is reported to aid in the design of experiments requiring maximum shock front radiance.

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  4. Abstract Investigating how solid matter behaves at enormous pressures, such as those found in the deep interiors of giant planets, is a great experimental challenge. Over the past decade, computational predictions have revealed that compression to terapascal pressures may bring about counter-intuitive changes in the structure and bonding of solids as quantum mechanical forces grow in influence 1–6 . Although this behaviour has been observed at modest pressures in the highly compressible light alkali metals 7,8 , it has not been established whether it is commonplace among high-pressure solids more broadly. We used shaped laser pulses at the National Ignition Facility to compress elemental Mg up to 1.3 TPa, which is approximately four times the pressure at the Earth’s core. By directly probing the crystal structure using nanosecond-duration X-ray diffraction, we found that Mg changes its crystal structure several times with non-close-packed phases emerging at the highest pressures. Our results demonstrate that phase transformations of extremely condensed matter, previously only accessible through theoretical calculations, can now be experimentally explored. 
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  5. A highly adaptable and robust terahertz (THz) energy meter is designed and implemented to detect energetic THz pulses from high-intensity (>1018 W/cm2) laser–plasma interactions on the OMEGA EP. THz radiation from the laser driven target is detected by a shielded pyrometer. A second identical pyrometer is used for background subtraction. The detector can be configured to detect THz pulses in the 1 mm to 30 μm (0.3- to 10-THz) range and pulse energies from joules to microjoules via changes in filtration, aperture size, and position. Additional polarization selective filtration can also be used to determine the THz pulse polarization. The design incorporates significant radiation and electromagnetic pulse shielding to survive and operate within the OMEGA EP radiation environment. We describe the design, operational principle, calibration, and testing of the THz energy meter. The pyrometers were calibrated using a benchtop laser and show linear sensitivity to up to 1000 nJ of absorbed energy. The initial results from four OMEGA EP THz experiments detected up to ∼15μJ at the detector, which can correspond to hundreds of mJ depending on THz emission and reflection models.

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