Saturated ablation in metal hydrides and acceleration of protons and deuterons to keV energies with a soft-x-ray laser

A. Andreasson, B. Iwan, A. Andrejczuk, E. Abreu, M. Bergh, C. Caleman, A.J. Nelson, S. Bajt, J. Chalupsky, H. Chapman, R.R. Faustlin, V. Hajkova, P. Heimann, B. Hjövarsson, L. Juha, D. Klinger, J. Krzywinski, B. Nagler, G.K. Palsson, W. SingerM.M. Seibert, R. Sobierajski, S. Toleikis, T. Tschentscher, S.M. Vinko, R.W. Lee, J. Hajdu, N. Timneanu

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Studies of materials under extreme conditions have relevance to a broad area of research, including planetary physics, fusion research, materials science, and structural biology with x-ray lasers. We study such extreme conditions and experimentally probe the interaction between ultrashort soft x-ray pulses and solid targets (metals and their deuterides) at the FLASH free-electron laser where power densities exceeding 1017 W/cm2 were reached. Time-of-flight ion spectrometry and crater analysis were used to characterize the interaction. The results show the onset of saturation in the ablation process at power densities above 1016 W/cm2. This effect can be linked to a transiently induced x-ray transparency in the solid by the femtosecond x-ray pulse at high power densities. The measured kinetic energies of protons and deuterons ejected from the surface reach several keV and concur with predictions from plasma-expansion models. Simulations of the interactions were performed with a nonlocal thermodynamic equilibrium code with radiation transfer. These calculations return critical depths similar to the observed crater depths and capture the transient surface transparency at higher power densities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number016403
Number of pages7
JournalPhysical review E: Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • METIS-304842


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