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Experimental study of fast electron propagation in compressed matter

Vauzour, B. and Santos, J. J. and Batani, D. and Baton, S. D. and Koenig, M. and Nicolai, Ph. and Perez, F. and Beg, F. N. and Benedetti, C. and Benocci, R. and Brambrink, E. and Chawla, S. and Coury, M. and Dorchies, F. and Fourment, C. and Galimberti, M. and Gizzi, L. A. and Heathcote, R. and Higginson, D. P. and Honrubia, J. J. and Hulin, S. and Jafer, R. and Jarrot, L. C. and Lobate, L. and Lancaster, K. and Koster, P. and MacKinnon, A. J. and McKenna, P. and McPhee, A. G. and Nazarov, W. and Pasley, J. and Ramis, R. and Rhee, Y. and Regan, C. and Ribeyre, X. and Richetta, M. and Serres, F. and Schlenvoigt, H. -P. and Schurtz, G. and Sgattoni, A. and Spindloe, C. and Vaisseau, X. and Volpe, L. and Yahia, V. (2011) Experimental study of fast electron propagation in compressed matter. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, 653 (1). pp. 176-180. ISSN 0168-9002

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We report on experimental results of the fast electron transport in compressed plasmas, created by laser-induced shock propagation in both cylindrical and planar geometry. Two experiments were carried out. The first one was based on the compression of a polyimide cylinder filled with foams of three different initial densities (rho(0)). X-ray and proton radiographies of the target during the compression coupled with hydrodynamic simulations show that the obtained core densities and temperatures range from 2 to 11 g/cm(3) and from 30 to 120 eV, respectively. By studying the K-shell fluorescence from dopant atoms inside the target and from tracer layers situated at both front and rear side of the target it has been possible to investigate the fast electron propagation. The results show that Cu K-alpha yield emitted by the target rear side foil decreases with increasing compression, independently of rho(0). An electron collimation can also be observed for certain experimental conditions where a convergent resistivity gradient interacts with the fast electron beam. The second experiment was performed in a planar geometry with a compressing shock counter-propagative to the fast electron beam. In this case the areal density rho z seen by the electrons is constant during the compression in such a way that changes in the fast electron range should be ascribed to collective mechanisms. The study of the K-alpha fluorescence, from buried fluorescent layers of different atomic numbers, shows that the electrons with energy <75 key are more affected by resistive losses in compressed compared to non-compressed targets. These two experiments were part of the Experimental Fusion Validation Program of the HiPER project.