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Probing colliding plasmas with time resolved imaging and spectroscopy


Laser produced plasmas are formed when a short pulse and high power laser is focused onto a surface. Applications range from UV/X-ray light sources for lithography, microscopy and radiography, X-ray lasers, thin film deposition, analytical spectroscopy and ion beam generation (and even acceleration). A battery of particle and optical techniques are now used to diagnose laser plasmas. One highly successful technique is spectrally filtered and gated-CCD (Charged Coupled Device) imaging of plasma plumes which provides almost on-line tracking of the early (creation) and late (expansion) phases of plasma plume evolution. However, this technique is limited to detecting only the excited (emitting) species in the plume. Recently,the NCPST at DCU has developed a new and unique experimental system to implement complementary time resolved vacuum-UV photoabsorption imaging. Now one can track the evolution of 'dark plume matter' or non-emitting species residing in ground and metastable states. The effects of these species (and in par ticular energy carrying metastables) in collisions with other plasmas species and surfaces is currently far from well understood. In addition, the experiment will provide new and valuable data for astrophysical modeling also. The main objectiv e of the present proposal is to bring the very fine experimental expertise, collisions physics background and already wide contact base of the proposed Fellow to bear on the study of collisions in single and interpenetrating plasma plumes. The project will permit NCPST researchers to get up to speed on the increasingly important role of collisions in laser plasma applications and to build useful contacts in this area in South America. The Fellow will gain valuable expertise in laboratory and project managem ent at a substantial research center, acquire experience and best practice skills in a rapidly developing area and network with well placed European contacts which he can bring to bear on his future career'

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