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Layer structure, plasma jet, and thermal dynamics of Cu target irradiated by relativistic pulsed electron beam

  • Limin Li (a1), Lie Liu (a1), Guoxin Cheng (a1), Qifu Xu (a1), Xingjun Ge (a1) and Jianchun Wen (a1)...


This paper, based on a relativistic electron-beam accelerator with inductive energy accumulation, investigates the layer structure, plasma jet, and thermal dynamics of Cu target under the irradiation of pulsed electron beam (~350 kV, ~4 kA, ~300 ns). A description of a relativistic electron beam source with a carbon fiber cathode is presented. After the electron-beam irradiation at ~13 J/cm2 energy density, microcraters with 0.5–1 µm diameter appeared on the target surface, and the target cross section is characterized by multilayer structures with a ~20 µm thickness melting layer and a cellular layer. Further, it was found that the carbon content increased significantly not only on the target surface but also on the cross section. The gas liberation per pulse induced by electron beam is analyzed. A good agreement between the experimental and calculated perveances was observed, with the exception at the end of the accelerating pulse possibly due to the participation of ion flow from the anode target. In the pulsed emission, there existed material transfer from anode to cathode, which is observed by the identification of elemental compositions on cathode surface. As the beam energy is deposited on target surface, the anode plasma jet is generated, and expands toward the cathode at a velocity of ~3 cm/μs. By solving the one-dimensional heat equation, 109 K/s heating rate and 107 K/m temperature gradient can be obtained. After the heating of pulsed electron beam, the thermal conduction is dominant, with a cooling rate on the order of 107 K/s. The relativistic electron beam sources may provide a potential development for target experiments and high energy density physics.


Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Limin Li, College of Photoelectric Science and Engineering, National University of Defense Technology, Changsha 410073, People's Republic of China. E-mail:


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Layer structure, plasma jet, and thermal dynamics of Cu target irradiated by relativistic pulsed electron beam

  • Limin Li (a1), Lie Liu (a1), Guoxin Cheng (a1), Qifu Xu (a1), Xingjun Ge (a1) and Jianchun Wen (a1)...


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