Xun Liu

Chinese Academy of Sciences, Peping, Beijing, China

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Publications (7)39.89 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The driving mechanism of solar flares and coronal mass ejections is a topic of ongoing debate, apart from the consensus that magnetic reconnection plays a key role during the impulsive process. While present solar research mostly depends on observations and theoretical models, laboratory experiments based on high-energy density facilities provide the third method for quantitatively comparing astrophysical observations and models with data achieved in experimental settings. In this article, we show laboratory modeling of solar flares and coronal mass ejections by constructing the magnetic reconnection system with two mutually approaching laser-produced plasmas circumfused of self-generated megagauss magnetic fields. Due to the Euler similarity between the laboratory and solar plasma systems, the present experiments demonstrate the morphological reproduction of flares and coronal mass ejections in solar observations in a scaled sense, and confirm the theory and model predictions about the current-sheet-born anomalous plasmoid as the initial stage of coronal mass ejections, and the behavior of moving-away plasmoid stretching the primary reconnected field lines into a secondary current sheet conjoined with two bright ridges identified as solar flares.
    03/2013; 1(01). DOI:10.1017/hpl.2013.2
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    ABSTRACT: Reconnection of the self-generated magnetic fields in laser-plasma interaction was first investigated experimentally by Nilson {\it et al.} [Phys. Rev. Lett. 97, 255001 (2006)] by shining two laser pulses a distance apart on a solid target layer. An elongated current sheet (CS) was observed in the plasma between the two laser spots. In order to more closely model magnetotail reconnection, here two side-by-side thin target layers, instead of a single one, are used. It is found that at one end of the elongated CS a fan-like electron outflow region including three well-collimated electron jets appears. The ($>1$ MeV) tail of the jet energy distribution exhibits a power-law scaling. The enhanced electron acceleration is attributed to the intense inductive electric field in the narrow electron dominated reconnection region, as well as additional acceleration as they are trapped inside the rapidly moving plasmoid formed in and ejected from the CS. The ejection also induces a secondary CS.
    Physical Review Letters 03/2012; 108(21). DOI:10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.215001 · 7.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Supercontinuum generation in air using tightly focused femtosecond laser pulses was investigated experimentally. Broadband white-light emission covering the whole visible spectral region was generated. Spectral broadening extended only to the blue side of the fundamental frequency due to the phase modulation induced by the strong ionization of air. Numerical simulation was also performed to confirm the spectral broadening mechanism. A constant UV cutoff wavelength close to 400 nm was observed in the supercontinuum spectrum. This phenomenon indicated that intensity clamping still plays a role in tight focusing geometry.
    Optics Letters 10/2011; 36(19):3900-2. DOI:10.1364/OL.36.003900 · 3.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The triggering and guiding of high voltage discharge by plasma filaments generated by 400nm and 800nm femtosecond laser were studied experimentally. The detailed diagnostics for characteristics of filaments, such as amount of free electrons, diameter and electron density, were performed using sonographic method, fluorescence imaging and resistivity measurement. A significant reduction of the breakdown voltage threshold due to the pre-ionization of the air gap by laser pulse filaments was observed. It is shown that the 400nm laser pulses demonstrated stronger triggering ability than 800nm laser pulse under same pulse energy. This behavior of 400nm femtosecond pulse is connected to the rich population of highly excited particles in filaments.
    Optics Communications 10/2011; 284(22):5372-5375. DOI:10.1016/j.optcom.2011.07.058 · 1.54 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The propagation of tightly focused femtosecond laser pulse with numerical aperture of 0.12 in air is investigated experimentally. The formation and evolution of the filament bunch are recorded by time-resolved shadowgraph with laser energy from 2.4 mJ to 47 mJ. The distribution of electron density in breakdown area is retrieved using Nomarski interferometer. It is found that intensity clamping during filamentation effect still play a role even under strong external focusing. The electron density in some interaction zones is higher than 3 × 10(19) cm(-3), which indicates that each air molecule there is ionized.
    Optics Express 12/2010; 18(25):26007-17. DOI:10.1364/OE.18.026007 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Magnetic reconnection is a process by which oppositely directed magnetic field lines passing through a plasma undergo dramatic rearrangement, converting magnetic potential into kinetic energy and heat. It is believed to play an important role in many plasma phenomena including solar flares, star formation and other astrophysical events, laser-driven plasma jets, and fusion plasma instabilities. Because of the large differences of scale between laboratory and astrophysical plasmas, it is often difficult to extrapolate the reconnection phenomena studied in one environment to those observed in the other. In some cases, however, scaling laws do permit reliable connections to made, such as the experimental simulation of interactions between the solar wind and the Earth's magnetosphere. Here we report well-scaled laboratory experiments that reproduce loop-top-like X-ray source emission by reconnection outflows interacting with a solid target. Our experiments exploit the mega-gauss-scale magnetic field generated by interaction of a high-intensity laser with a plasma to reconstruct a magnetic reconnection topology similar to that which occurs in solar flares. We also identify the separatrix and diffusion regions associated with reconnection in which ions become decoupled from electrons on a scale of the ion inertial length.
    Nature Physics 10/2010; 6(12):984-987. DOI:10.1038/nphys1790 · 20.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The triggering and guiding of the stationary high voltage (HV) discharges at 5-40 kV are demonstrated by using plasma filaments generated by single and dual femtosecond(fs) laser pulses in air. A significant reduction of the breakdown voltage threshold due to the pre-ionization of the air gap by laser pulse filamentaion was observed. The amount of free electrons of filaments generated by different pulse configurations was compared by sonography method. The lifetime of filaments is measured by using time-resolved fluorescence spectrum, and the lifetime of filaments generated by dual fs laser pulses was doubled due to the re-ionization by the succeeding pulse. The triggering ability of dual fs laser pulses was demonstrated to be enhanced due to the longer lifetime of filaments.
    Optics Express 04/2009; 17(5):3461-8. DOI:10.1364/OE.17.003461 · 3.53 Impact Factor