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  1. Fast-exploding plasmas traveling though magnetized, collisionless plasmas can occur in a variety of physical systems, such as supernova remnants, coronal mass ejections, and laser-driven laboratory experiments. To study these systems, it is important to understand the coupling process between the plasmas. In this work, we develop a semi-analytical model of the parameters that characterize the strong collisionless coupling between an unmagnetized driver plasma and a uniformly and perpendicularly magnetized background plasma. In particular, we derive analytical expressions that describe the characteristic diamagnetic cavity and magnetic compression of these systems, such as their corresponding velocities, the compression ratio, and the maximum size of the cavity. The semi-analytical model is compared with collisionless 1D particle-in-cell simulations and experimental results with laser-driven plasmas. The model allows us to provide bounds for parameters that are otherwise difficult to diagnose in experiments with similar setups. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
  2. We present measurements of ion velocity distribution profiles obtained by laser induced fluorescence (LIF) on an explosive laser produced plasma. The spatiotemporal evolution of the resulting carbon ion velocity distribution was mapped by scanning through the Doppler-shifted absorption wavelengths using a tunable, diode-pumped laser. The acquisition of these data was facilitated by the high repetition rate capability of the ablation laser (1 Hz), which allowed for the accumulation of thousands of laser shots in short experimental times. By varying the intensity of the LIF beam, we were able to explore the effects of fluorescence power against the laser irradiance in the context of evaluating the saturation vs the non-saturation regime. The small size of the LIF beam led to high spatial resolution of the measurement compared to other ion velocity distribution measurement techniques, while the fast-gate operation mode of the camera detector enabled the measurement of the relevant electron transitions.

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  4. Magnetospheres are a ubiquitous feature of magnetized bodies embedded in a plasma flow. While large planetary magnetospheres have been studied for decades by spacecraft, ion-scale “mini” magnetospheres can provide a unique environment to study kinetic-scale, collisionless plasma physics in the laboratory to help validate models of larger systems. In this work, we present preliminary experiments of ion-scale magnetospheres performed on a unique high-repetition-rate platform developed for the Large Plasma Device at the University of California, Los Angeles. The experiments utilize a high-repetition-rate laser to drive a fast plasma flow into a pulsed dipole magnetic field embedded in a uniform magnetized background plasma. 2D maps of the magnetic field with high spatial and temporal resolution are measured with magnetic flux probes to examine the evolution of magnetosphere and current density structures for a range of dipole and upstream parameters. The results are further compared to 2D particle-in-cell simulations to identify key observational signatures of the kinetic-scale structures and dynamics of the laser-driven plasma. We find that distinct 2D kinetic-scale magnetopause and diamagnetic current structures are formed at higher dipole moments, and their locations are consistent with predictions based on pressure balances and energy conservation.

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