The main goal of this project is the achievement of a few-micron focal spot of the optimised, deeply saturated soft X-ray laser at 21.2 nm developed at PALS. The extremely high brightness makes this laser a perfect candidate for experimental studies of las er-matter interaction in the soft X-ray spectral region. Under optimum conditions it provides up to 10 mJ of energy in a narrowly collimated beam with high spatial quality. Assuming a focal spot of at most 10 micrometers, irradiances of at least 5 x 10^12 W/cm^2 may be generated with the 21.2 nm radiation on the target, resulting in conversion of solid matter to a highly ionized plasma relevant to stellar objects and warm dense matter. First, appropriate focusing optics for the X-ray laser at 21.2 nm will b e designed with the help of ray tracing simulation code, then fabricated, coated, and tested. The X-ray laser focal spot will be characterized by means of near-field imaging of the fluorescence induced by the X-ray laser beam on YAG:Ce crystal. The quality of focusing will be evaluated and optimised. Finally, a target consisting of thin foil of aluminum or zirconium will be placed in the focus and emission X-ray spectra from plasma generated by the X-ray laser will be recorded. The success in focusing of X-ray laser will give rise to a completely new and unexplored field in physics - laboratory astrophysics.
Fields of science
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