Stimulated emission of x-rays from plasmas generated by short-pulse-laser-heating of solid targets
The problem of heating of a solid target to generate a nonequilibrium plasma by subnanosecond laser pulses is considered. For an appreciable absorption of energy from a Nd-glass laser, the critical density of the electrons in the plasma turns out to be 1021 cm−3. These electrons can be heated up to 107 K or more by using pulses of about 10 picosecond duration and absorbed energy flux of the order of 1021 erg cm−2 sec−1. Starting from neutral atoms in a solid with a high atomic number, e.g., Z=26, for times in the picosecond regime the relevant rate equations are solved analytically to predict densities of the atoms at different ionization levels. It is shown that during such a short time the population density of the ions isoelectronic to neon builds up to a very large amount. This in turn leads to the population inversion in the 4s → 3p soft x-ray laser transition, via the electron-impact excitation of the 4s level of the isoelectronic neon ion. For the effective pumping times of the order of 5 picoseconds, a gain of the order of 102 db cm−1 is predicted for the laser transition in Fe XVII, Co XVIII or Cu XX.
Volume 94, 2020
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