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We report on the design and first results from experiments looking at the formation of radiative shocks on the Shenguang-II (SG-II) laser at the Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics in China. Laser-heating of a two-layer CH/CH–Br foil drives a $\sim 40$ km/s shock inside a gas cell filled with argon at an initial pressure of 1 bar. The use of gas-cell targets with large (several millimetres) lateral and axial extent allows the shock to propagate freely without any wall interactions, and permits a large field of view to image single and colliding counter-propagating shocks with time-resolved, point-projection X-ray backlighting ($\sim 20$ μm source size, 4.3 keV photon energy). Single shocks were imaged up to 100 ns after the onset of the laser drive, allowing to probe the growth of spatial nonuniformities in the shock apex. These results are compared with experiments looking at counter-propagating shocks, showing a symmetric drive that leads to a collision and stagnation from $\sim 40$ ns onward. We present a preliminary comparison with numerical simulations with the radiation hydrodynamics code ARWEN, which provides expected plasma parameters for the design of future experiments in this facility.
Collimated outflows (jets) are ubiquitous in the universe, appearing around sources as diverse as protostars and extragalactic supermassive black holes. Jets are thought to be magnetically collimated, and launched from a magnetized accretion disk surrounding a compact gravitating object. We have developed the first laboratory experiment to address time-dependent, episodic phenomena relevant to the poorly understood jet acceleration and collimation region (Ciardi et al., 2009). The experiments were performed on the MAGPIE pulsed power facility (1.5 MA, 250 ns) at Imperial College. The experimental results show the periodic ejections of magnetic bubbles naturally evolving into a heterogeneous jet propagating inside a channel made of self-collimated magnetic cavities. The results provide a unique view of the possible transition from a relatively steady-state jet launching to the observed highly structured outflows.
With the aim to model jets produced by conical wire arrays on the MAGPIE generator, and to strengthen the link between laboratory and astrophysical jets, we performed three-dimensional magneto-hydro-dynamic numerical simulations using the code GORGON and successfully reproduced the experiments. We found that a minimum resolution of ~100 μm is required to retrieve the unstable character of the jet. Moreover, arrays with less wires produce more unstable jets with stronger magnetic fields around them.
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