Energy Flow in Dense Off-Equilibrium Plasma
Technical Report,01 Apr 2012,30 Jun 2016
University of California, Los Angeles Los Angeles United States
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We created wann, dense plasmas with sonoluminescence, laser breakdown, and sparks - very different systems that all produce plasmas with a similar thermodynamic state. Probing sonoluminescence with visible-wavelength lasers yielded measurements of ionization potential lowering and collision times in dense plasmas, allowing us to distinguish between competing dense-plasma models. Hydrodynamic analysis of shockwaves generated by sparks yielded similar measurements in a different, more accessible system. Ultra-fast observations of laser breakdown have revealed a new phase of off-equilibrium plasma that has a tensile strength similar to a liquid, and reduced ion-electron collision cross-sections. By working at micron length scales, and nanosecond time scales, we are able to use table-top experiments to elucidate the properties of these exotic plasmas.