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  1. Hard x-rays produced by intense laser-produced fast electrons interacting with solids are a vital source for producing radiographs of high-density objects and implosion cores for inertial confinement fusion. Accurate calculation of hard x-ray sources requires a three-dimensional (3D) simulation geometry that fully models the electron transport dynamics, including electron recirculation and the generation of absolute photon yields. To date, 3D simulations of laser-produced bremsstrahlung photons over tens of picoseconds and code benchmarking have not been performed definitively. In this study, we characterize sub-picosecond laser-produced fast electrons by modeling angularly resolved bremsstrahlung measurements for refluxing and non-refluxing targets using the 3D hybrid particle-in-cell (PIC), Large Scale Plasma code. Bremsstrahlung radiation and escaped electron data were obtained by focusing a 50-TW Leopard laser (15 J, 0.35 ps, 2 × 1019 W/cm2) on a 100-μm-thick Cu foil and a Cu with a large plastic backing (Cu–CH target). Data for both the Cu and Cu–CH targets were reproduced for simulations with a given set of electron parameters. Comparison of the simulations revealed that the hard x-ray emission from the Cu target was significantly longer in duration than that from the Cu–CH target. The benchmarked hybrid PIC code could prove to be a powerful tool in the design and optimization of time- and angular-dependent bremsstrahlung sources for flash x-ray and gamma-ray radiography.

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  2. High-power, short-pulse laser-driven fast electrons can rapidly heat and ionize a high-density target before it hydrodynamically expands. The transport of such electrons within a solid target has been studied using two-dimensional (2D) imaging of electron-induced Kα radiation. However, it is currently limited to no or picosecond scale temporal resolutions. Here, we demonstrate femtosecond time-resolved 2D imaging of fast electron transport in a solid copper foil using the SACLA x-ray free electron laser (XFEL). An unfocused collimated x-ray beam produced transmission images with sub-micron and ∼10 fs resolutions. The XFEL beam, tuned to its photon energy slightly above the Cu K-edge, enabled 2D imaging of transmission changes induced by electron isochoric heating. Time-resolved measurements obtained by varying the time delay between the x-ray probe and the optical laser show that the signature of the electron-heated region expands at ∼25% of the speed of light in a picosecond duration. Time-integrated Cu Kα images support the electron energy and propagation distance observed with the transmission imaging. The x-ray near-edge transmission imaging with a tunable XFEL beam could be broadly applicable for imaging isochorically heated targets by laser-driven relativistic electrons, energetic protons, or an intense x-ray beam. 
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  3. Samples of the carbonaceous asteroid Ryugu were brought to Earth by the Hayabusa2 spacecraft. We analyzed seventeen Ryugu samples measuring 1-8 mm. CO 2 -bearing water inclusions are present within a pyrrhotite crystal, indicating that Ryugu’s parent asteroid formed in the outer Solar System. The samples contain low abundances of materials that formed at high temperatures, such as chondrules and Ca, Al-rich inclusions. The samples are rich in phyllosilicates and carbonates, which formed by aqueous alteration reactions at low temperature, high pH, and water/rock ratios < 1 (by mass). Less altered fragments contain olivine, pyroxene, amorphous silicates, calcite, and phosphide. Numerical simulations, based on the mineralogical and physical properties of the samples, indicate Ryugu’s parent body formed ~ 2 million years after the beginning of Solar System formation. 
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