G. A. Rochau

Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States

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Publications (132)326.35 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We spectroscopically measure multiple hydrogen Balmer line profiles from laboratory plasmas to investigate the theoretical line profiles used in white dwarf atmosphere models. X-ray radiation produced at the Z Pulsed Power Facility at Sandia National Laboratories initiates plasma formation in a hydrogen-filled gas cell, replicating white dwarf photospheric conditions. Here we present time-resolved measurements of H$\beta$ and fit this line using different theoretical line profiles to diagnose electron density, $n_{\rm e}$, and $n=2$ level population, $n_2$. Aided by synthetic tests, we characterize the validity of our diagnostic method for this experimental platform. During a single experiment, we infer a continuous range of electron densities increasing from $n_{\rm e}\sim4$ to $\sim30\times10^{16}\,$cm$^{-3}$ throughout a 120-ns evolution of our plasma. Also, we observe $n_2$ to be initially elevated with respect to local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE); it then equilibrates within $\sim55\,$ns to become consistent with LTE. This supports our electron-temperature determination of $T_{\rm e}\sim1.3\,$eV ($\sim15,000\,$K) after this time. At $n_{\rm e}\gtrsim10^{17}\,$cm$^{-3}$, we find that computer-simulation-based line-profile calculations provide better fits (lower reduced $\chi^2$) than the line profiles currently used in the white dwarf astronomy community. The inferred conditions, however, are in good quantitative agreement. This work establishes an experimental foundation for the future investigation of relative shapes and strengths between different hydrogen Balmer lines.
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    ABSTRACT: Large diameter multi-shell gas puffs rapidly imploded by high current (∼20 MA, ∼100 ns) on the Z generator of Sandia National Laboratories are able to produce high-intensity Krypton K-shell emission at ∼13 keV. Efficiently radiating at these high photon energies is a significant challenge which requires the careful design and optimization of the gas distribution. To facilitate this, we hydrodynamically model the gas flow out of the nozzle and then model its implosion using a 3-dimensional resistive, radiative MHD code (GORGON). This approach enables us to iterate between modeling the implosion and gas flow from the nozzle to optimize radiative output from this combined system. Guided by our implosion calculations, we have designed gas profiles that help mitigate disruption from Magneto-Rayleigh-Taylor implosion instabilities, while preserving sufficient kinetic energy to thermalize to the high temperatures required for K-shell emission.
    Physics of Plasmas 05/2015; 22(5):056316. DOI:10.1063/1.4921154 · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: By magnetizing the fusion fuel in inertial confinement fusion (ICF) systems, the required stagnation pressure and density can be relaxed dramatically. This happens because the magnetic field insulates the hot fuel from the cold pusher and traps the charged fusion burn products. This trapping allows the burn products to deposit their energy in the fuel, facilitating plasma self-heating. Here, we report on a comprehensive theory of this trapping in a cylindrical DD plasma magnetized with a purely axial magnetic field. Using this theory, we are able to show that the secondary fusion reactions can be used to infer the magnetic field-radius product, BR, during fusion burn. This parameter, not ρR, is the primary confinement parameter in magnetized ICF. Using this method, we analyze data from recent Magnetized Liner Inertial Fusion experiments conducted on the Z machine at Sandia National Laboratories. We show that in these experiments BR ≈ 0.34(+0.14/−0.06) MG cm, a ∼ 14× increase in BR from the initial value, and confirming that the DD-fusion tritons are magnetized at stagnation. This is the first experimental verification of charged burn product magnetization facilitated by compression of an initial seed magnetic flux.
    Physics of Plasmas 05/2015; 22(5):056312. DOI:10.1063/1.4920948 · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The application of a space-resolving spectrometer to X-ray Thomson Scattering (XRTS) experiments has the potential to advance the study of warm dense matter. This has motivated the design of a spherical crystal spectrometer, which is a doubly focusing geometry with an overall high sensitivity and the capability of providing high-resolution, space-resolved spectra. A detailed analysis of the image fluence and crystal throughput in this geometry is carried out and analytical estimates of these quantities are presented. This analysis informed the design of a new spectrometer intended for future XRTS experiments on the Z-machine. The new spectrometer collects 6 keV x-rays with a spherically bent Ge (422) crystal and focuses the collected x-rays onto the Rowland circle. The spectrometer was built and then tested with a foam target. The resulting high-quality spectra prove that a spherical spectrometer is a viable diagnostic for XRTS experiments.
    The Review of scientific instruments 04/2015; 86(4):043504. DOI:10.1063/1.4918619 · 1.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Argon gas puffs have produced 330 kJ ± 9% of x-ray radiation above 3 keV photon energy in fast z-pinch implosions, with remarkably reproducible K-shell spectra and power pulses. This reproducibility in x-ray production is particularly significant in light of the variations in instability evolution observed between experiments. Soft x-ray power measurements and K-shell line ratios from a time-resolved spectrum at peak x-ray power suggest that plasma gradients in these high-mass pinches may limit the K-shell radiating mass, K-shell power, and K-shell yield from high-current gas puffs.
    Physics of Plasmas 02/2015; 22(2):020706. DOI:10.1063/1.4913350 · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    Nature 12/2014; 517(7532):56-59. DOI:10.1038/nature14048 · 42.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sandia's Z Machine uses its high current to magnetically implode targets relevant to inertial confinement fusion. Since target performance is highly dependent on the applied drive field, measuring magnetic field at the target is essential for accurate simulations. Recently, the magnetic field at the target was measured through splitting of the sodium 3s-3p doublet at 5890 and 5896 Å. Spectroscopic dopants were applied to the exterior of the target, and spectral lines were observed in absorption. Magnetic fields in excess of 200 T were measured, corresponding to drive currents of approximately 5 MA early in the pulse.
    Review of Scientific Instruments 10/2014; 85(11). DOI:10.1063/1.4891304 · 1.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: MCP detector performance at hard x-ray energies from 6 to 25 keV was recently investigated using NSLS beamline X15A at BNL. Measurements were made with an NSTec Gen-II (H-CA-65) framing camera, based on a Photonis MCP with ̃10 μm in diameter pores, ̃12 μm center-center spacing, an L/D ratio of 46, and a bias angle of 8°. The MCP characterizations were focused on (1) energy and angle dependent sensitivity, (2) energy and angle dependent spatial resolution, (3) energy dependent gain performance, and (4) energy dependent dynamic range. These measurement corroborated simulation results using a Monte Carlo model that included hard x-ray interactions and the subsequent electron cascade in the MCP.
    Review of Scientific Instruments 10/2014; 85(11). DOI:10.1063/1.4890293 · 1.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Our preliminary results from laboratory experiments studying white dwarf (WD) photospheres show a systematic difference between experimental plasma conditions inferred from measured H$\beta$ absorption line profiles versus those from H$\gamma$. One hypothesis for this discrepancy is an inaccuracy in the relative theoretical line profiles of these two transitions. This is intriguing because atmospheric parameters inferred from H Balmer lines in observed WD spectra show systematic trends such that inferred surface gravities decrease with increasing principal quantum number, $n$. If conditions inferred from lower-$n$ Balmer lines are indeed more accurate, this suggests that spectroscopically determined DA WD masses may be greater than previously thought and in better agreement with the mean mass determined from gravitational redshifts.
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    ABSTRACT: Magnetizing the fuel in inertial confinement fusion relaxes ignition requirements by reducing thermal conductivity and changing the physics of burn product confinement. Diagnosing the level of fuel magnetization during burn is critical to understanding target performance in magneto-inertial fusion (MIF) implosions. In pure deuterium fusion plasma, 1.01 MeV tritons are emitted during deuterium-deuterium fusion and can undergo secondary deuterium-tritium reactions before exiting the fuel. Increasing the fuel magnetization elongates the path lengths through the fuel of some of the tritons, enhancing their probability of reaction. Based on this feature, a method to diagnose fuel magnetization using the ratio of overall deuterium-tritium to deuterium-deuterium neutron yields is developed. Analysis of anisotropies in the secondary neutron energy spectra further constrain the measurement. Secondary reactions also are shown to provide an upper bound for the volumetric fuel-pusher mix in MIF. The analysis is applied to recent MIF experiments [M. R. Gomez et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 155003 (2014)] on the Z Pulsed Power Facility, indicating that significant magnetic confinement of charged burn products was achieved and suggesting a relatively low-mix environment. Both of these are essential features of future ignition-scale MIF designs.
    Physical Review Letters 10/2014; 113(15):155004. DOI:10.1103/PhysRevLett.113.155004 · 7.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This Letter presents results from the first fully integrated experiments testing the magnetized liner inertial fusion concept [S. A. Slutz et al., Phys. Plasmas 17, 056303 (2010)], in which a cylinder of deuterium gas with a preimposed 10 Taxial magnetic field is heated by Z beamlet, a 2.5 kJ, 1 TW laser, and magnetically imploded by a 19 MA, 100 ns rise time current on the Z facility. Despite a predicted peak implosion velocity of only 70 km/s, the fuel reaches a stagnation temperature of approximately 3 keV, with T-e approximate to T-i, and produces up to 2 x 10(12) thermonuclear deuterium-deuterium neutrons. X-ray emission indicates a hot fuel region with full width at half maximum ranging from 60 to 120 mu m over a 6 mm height and lasting approximately 2 ns. Greater than 10(10) secondary deuterium-tritium neutrons were observed, indicating significant fuel magnetization given that the estimated radial areal density of the plasma is only 2 mg/cm(2).
    Physical Review Letters 10/2014; 113(15):155003. DOI:10.1103/PhysRevLett.113.155003 · 7.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Advancements have been made in the diagnostic techniques to measure accurately the total radiated x-ray yield and power from z-pinch implosion experiments at the Z machine with high accuracy. The Z machine is capable of outputting 2 MJ and 330 TW of x-ray yield and power, and accurately measuring these quantities is imperative. We will describe work over the past several years which include the development of new diagnostics, improvements to existing diagnostics, and implementation of automated data analysis routines. A set of experiments on the Z machine were conducted in which the load and machine configuration were held constant. During this shot series, it was observed that the total z-pinch x-ray emission power determined from the two common techniques for inferring the x-ray power, a Kimfol filtered x-ray diode diagnostic and the total power and energy diagnostic, gave 449 TW and 323 TW, respectively. Our analysis shows the latter to be the more accurate interpretation. More broadly, the comparison demonstrates the necessity to consider spectral response and field of view when inferring x-ray powers from z-pinch sources.
    Review of Scientific Instruments 08/2014; 85(8):083501-083501-11. DOI:10.1063/1.4891316 · 1.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Experimental tests are in progress to evaluate the accuracy of the modeled iron opacity at solar interior conditions [J.E. Bailey et al., Phys. Plasmas 16, 058101 (2009)]. The iron sample is placed on top of the Sandia National Laboratories z-pinch dynamic hohlraum (ZPDH) radiation source. The samples are heated to 150 - 200 eV electron temperatures and 7e21 - 4e22 e/cc electron densities by the ZPDH radiation and backlit at its stagnation [T. Nagayama et al., Phys. Plasmas 21, 056502 (2014)]. The backlighter attenuated by the heated sample plasma is measured by four spectrometers along +/- 9 degree with respect to the z-pinch axis to infer the sample iron opacity. Here we describe measurements of the source-to-sample distance that exploit the parallax of spectrometers that view the half-moon-shaped sample from +/-9 degree. The measured sample temperature decreases with increased source-to-sample distance. This distance must be taken into account for understanding the sample heating.
    Review of Scientific Instruments 07/2014; 85(11):11D603. DOI:10.1063/1.4889776 · 1.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Experimental tests are in progress to evaluate the accuracy of the modeled iron opacity at solar interior conditions, in particular to better constrain the solar abundance problem [S. Basu and H. M. Antia, Phys. Rep. 457, 217 (2008)]. Here, we describe measurements addressing three of the key requirements for reliable opacity experiments: control of sample conditions, independent sample condition diagnostics, and verification of sample condition uniformity. The opacity samples consist of iron/magnesium layers tamped by plastic. By changing the plastic thicknesses, we have controlled the iron plasma conditions to reach (1) Te = 167 +/- 3 eV and ne =(7.1 +/- 1.5)e22 cm^3, (2) Te =170 +/- 2eV and ne =(2.0 +/- 0.2)e22 cm^3, and (3) Te =196 +/- 6eV and ne=(3.8 +/- 0.8)e22 cm^3, which were measured by magnesium tracer K-shell spectroscopy. The opacity sample non-uniformity was directly measured by a separate experiment where Al is mixed into the side of the sample facing the radiation source and Mg into the other side. The iron condition was confirmed to be uniform within their measurement uncertainties by Al and Mg K-shell spectroscopy. The conditions are suitable for testing opacity calculations needed for modeling the solar interior, other stars, and high energy density plasmas.
    Physics of Plasmas 05/2014; 21(5):056502. DOI:10.1063/1.4872324 · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Z Facility at Sandia National Laboratories [Matzen et al., Phys. Plasmas 12, 055503 (2005)] provides MJ-class x-ray sources that can emit powers >0.3 PW. This capability enables benchmark experiments of fundamental material properties in radiation-heated matter at conditions previously unattainable in the laboratory. Experiments on Z can produce uniform, long-lived, and large plasmas with volumes up to 20 cc, temperatures from 1–200 eV, and electron densities from 10 17–23 cc À1 . These unique characteristics and the ability to radiatively heat multiple experiments in a single shot have led to a new effort called the Z Astrophysical Plasma Properties (ZAPP) collaboration. The focus of the ZAPP collaboration is to reproduce the radiation and material characteristics of astrophysical plasmas as closely as possible in the laboratory and use detailed spectral measurements to strengthen models for atoms in plasmas. Specific issues under investigation include the LTE opacity of iron at stellar-interior conditions, photoionization around active galactic nuclei, the efficiency of resonant Auger destruction in black-hole accretion disks, and H-Balmer line shapes in white dwarf photospheres. V C 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.
    Physics of Plasmas 05/2014; 21(5):056308. DOI:10.1063/1.4875330 · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent experiments at the Sandia National Laboratories Z Facility have, for the first time, studied the implosion dynamics of magnetized liner inertial fusion (MagLIF) style liners that were pre-imposed with a uniform axial magnetic field. As reported [T. J. Awe et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 235005 (2013)] when premagnetized with a 7 or 10 T axial field, these liners developed 3D-helix-like hydrodynamic instabilities; such instabilities starkly contrast with the azimuthally correlated magneto-Rayleigh-Taylor (MRT) instabilities that have been consistently observed in many earlier non-premagnetized experiments. The helical structure persisted throughout the implosion, even though the azimuthal drive field greatly exceeded the expected axial field at the liner's outer wall for all but the earliest stages of the experiment. Whether this modified instability structure has practical importance for magneto-inertial fusion concepts depends primarily on whether the modified instability structure is more stable than standard azimuthally correlated MRT instabilities. In this manuscript, we discuss the evolution of the helix-like instability observed on premagnetized liners. While a first principles explanation of this observation remains elusive, recent 3D simulations suggest that if a small amplitude helical perturbation can be seeded on the liner's outer surface, no further influence from the axial field is required for the instability to grow.
    Physics of Plasmas 05/2014; 21(5):056303. DOI:10.1063/1.4872331 · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Imploding wire arrays on the 20 MA Z generator have recently provided some of the most powerful and energetic laboratory sources of multi-keV photons, including ∼375 kJ of Al K-shell emission (hν ∼ 1–2 keV), ∼80 kJ of stainless steel K-shell emission (hν ∼ 5–9 keV) and a kJ-level of Mo K-shell emission (hν ∼ 17 keV). While the global implosion dynamics of these different wire arrays are very similar, the physical process that dominates the emission from these x-ray sources fall into three broad categories. Al wire arrays produce a column of plasma with densities up to ∼3 × 1021 ions/cm3, where opacity inhibits the escape of K-shell photons. Significant structure from instabilities can reduce the density and increase the surface area, therefore increase the K-shell emission. In contrast, stainless steel wire arrays operate in a regime where achieving a high pinch temperature (achieved by thermalizing a high implosion kinetic energy) is critical and, while opacity is present, it has less impact on the pinch emissivity. At higher photon energies, line emission associated with inner shell ionization due to energetic electrons becomes important.
    Physics of Plasmas 05/2014; 21(5):056708. DOI:10.1063/1.4876621 · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aluminum wire array z pinches imploded on the Z generator are an extremely bright source of 1–2 keV radiation, with close to 400 kJ radiated at photon energies >1 keV and more than 50 kJ radiated in a single line (Al Ly-α). Opacity plays a critical role in the dynamics and K-shell radiation efficiency of these pinches. Where significant structure is present in the stagnated pinch this acts to reduce the effective opacity of the system as demonstrated by direct analysis of spectra. Analysis of time-integrated broadband spectra (0.8–25 keV) indicates electron temperatures ranging from a few 100 eV to a few keV are present, indicative of substantial temperature gradients.
    Physics of Plasmas 03/2014; 21(3):031201. DOI:10.1063/1.4865224 · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent experiments on the Z accelerator have produced high-energy (17 keV) inner-shell K-alpha emission from molybdenum wire array z-pinches. Extensive absolute power and spectroscopic diagnostics along with collisional-radiative modeling enable detailed investigation into the roles of thermal, hot electron, and fluorescence processes in the production of high-energy x-rays. We show that changing the dimensions of the arrays can impact the proportion of thermal and non-thermal K-shell x-rays. (C) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.
    Physics of Plasmas 02/2014; 21(3). DOI:10.1063/1.4866161 · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Z facility at the Sandia National Laboratories is the most energetic terrestrial source of X-rays and provides an opportunity to produce photoionized plasmas in a relatively well characterised radiation environment. We use detailed atomic-kinetic and spectral simulations to analyze the absorption spectra of a photoionized neon plasma driven by the x-ray flux from a z-pinch. The broadband x-ray flux both photoionizes and backlights the plasma. In particular, we focus on extracting the charge state distribution of the plasma and the characteristics of the radiation field driving the plasma in order to estimate the ionisation parameter.
    Physics of Plasmas 02/2014; 21(3). DOI:10.1063/1.4865226 · 2.25 Impact Factor