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  1. Laser wakefield accelerators generate ultrashort electron bunches with the capability to produce γ-rays. Here, we produce focused laser wakefield acceleration electron beams using three quadrupole magnets. Electron beams are then focused into a 3 mm lead converter to generate intense, focused bremsstrahlung γ beams. Experimental results demonstrate the generation and propagation of focused γ beams to a best focus spot size of 2.3 ± 0.1 × 2.7 ± 0.2 mm 2 using a copper stack calorimeter. Monte Carlo simulations conducted using GEANT4 are in good agreement with experimental results and enable detailed examination of γ-ray generation. Simulations indicate that the focused γ beams contained 2.6 × 10 9 photons in the range of 100 keV to 33 MeV with an average energy of 6.4 MeV. A γ-ray intensity of 7 × 10 10 W/cm 2 was estimated from simulations. The generation of focused bremsstrahlung γ-ray sources can have important applications in medical imaging applications and laboratory astrophysics experiments.
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023
  3. Abstract Magnetized plasma interactions are ubiquitous in astrophysical and laboratory plasmas. Various physical effects have been shown to be important within colliding plasma flows influenced by opposing magnetic fields, however, experimental verification of the mechanisms within the interaction region has remained elusive. Here we discuss a laser-plasma experiment whereby experimental results verify that Biermann battery generated magnetic fields are advected by Nernst flows and anisotropic pressure effects dominate these flows in a reconnection region. These fields are mapped using time-resolved proton probing in multiple directions. Various experimental, modelling and analytical techniques demonstrate the importance of anisotropic pressure in semi-collisional, high- β plasmas, causing a reduction in the magnitude of the reconnecting fields when compared to resistive processes. Anisotropic pressure dynamics are crucial in collisionless plasmas, but are often neglected in collisional plasmas. We show pressure anisotropy to be essential in maintaining the interaction layer, redistributing magnetic fields even for semi-collisional, high energy density physics (HEDP) regimes.
  4. Abstract

    Wind flow and sediment transport across a northern California beach‐foredune system with two adjacent vegetation types are examined for the same incident wind conditions. The invasiveAmmophila arenariawas taller (c. 1 m) with denser coverage than the neighbouringElymus mollisalliance canopy (c. 0.65 m), which consisted of a variety of interspersed native plants. Wind flow was measured with rotating cup and sonic anemometry, while sediment transport was measured using laser particle counters. Wind speed profiles over the two canopies were significantly different because of differing vegetation height, coverage density, and stem stiffness. In both cases, there was a lower zone of semi‐stagnant air (below about 0.3 m) that transitioned upward to a shear zone comprising the upper part of the canopy and immediately above. The shear zone above theElymuscanopy was relatively thin (confined to 0.3–0.5 m above‐ground) whereas the shear zone in theAmmophilacanopy was thicker extending from a height of about 0.5h(his average plant height) to about 1.5h. Vertical profiles of Reynolds shear stress (RSS) and turbulence kinetic energy (TKE) are consistent with the shear layer structure over these two contrasting vegetation canopies. The degree of topographically‐forced and vegetation‐enhanced flow steering was significant, withAmmophilastrongly shifting the highly oblique (55°) incident wind to essentiallymore »shore‐perpendicular trajectories. In comparison, the shore‐perpendicular steering effect was not as pronounced for theElymuscanopy. Sediment transport intensity on the beach was continuous, but decreased progressively to the dune toe, and then dropped to essentially zero once the vegetation canopy was encountered (on the stoss slope). Overall, the study illustrates the significant differences in wind flow and turbulence conditions that may occur in contrasting plant canopies on foredunes, suggesting that greater attention needs to be placed on vegetation roughness characteristics in models of foredune morphodynamics and sediment transport potential.

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  5. Abstract Laser wakefield accelerators promise to revolutionize many areas of accelerator science. However, one of the greatest challenges to their widespread adoption is the difficulty in control and optimization of the accelerator outputs due to coupling between input parameters and the dynamic evolution of the accelerating structure. Here, we use machine learning techniques to automate a 100 MeV-scale accelerator, which optimized its outputs by simultaneously varying up to six parameters including the spectral and spatial phase of the laser and the plasma density and length. Most notably, the model built by the algorithm enabled optimization of the laser evolution that might otherwise have been missed in single-variable scans. Subtle tuning of the laser pulse shape caused an 80% increase in electron beam charge, despite the pulse length changing by just 1%.