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Astrophysical collisionless shocks are amazing phenomena in space and astrophysical plasmas, where supersonic flows generate electromagnetic fields through instabilities and particles can be accelerated to high energy cosmic rays. Until now, understanding these micro-processes is still a challenge despite rich astrophysical observation data have been obtained. Laboratory astrophysics, a new route to study the astrophysics, allows us to investigate them at similar extreme physical conditions in laboratory. Here we will review the recent progress of the collisionless shock experiments performed at SG-II laser facility in China. The evolution of the electrostatic shocks and Weibel-type/filamentation instabilities are observed. Inspired by the configurations of the counter-streaming plasma flows, we also carry out a novel plasma collider to generate energetic neutrons relevant to the astrophysical nuclear reactions.
Laser-driven magnetic reconnection (LDMR) occurring with self-generated B fields has been experimentally and theoretically studied extensively, where strong B fields of more than megagauss are spontaneously generated in high-power laser–plasma interactions, which are located on the target surface and produced by non-parallel temperature and density gradients of expanding plasmas. For properties of the short-lived and strong B fields in laser plasmas, LDMR opened up a new territory in a parameter regime that has never been exploited before. Here we review the recent results of LDMR taking place in both high and low plasma beta environments. We aim to understand the basic physics processes of magnetic reconnection, such as particle accelerations, scale of the diffusion region, and guide field effects. Some applications of experimental results are also given especially for space and solar plasmas.
As a promising new way to generate a controllable strong magnetic field, laser-driven magnetic coils have attracted interest in many research fields. In 2013, a kilotesla level magnetic field was achieved at the Gekko XII laser facility with a capacitor–coil target. A similar approach has been adopted in a number of laboratories, with a variety of targets of different shapes. The peak strength of the magnetic field varies from a few tesla to kilotesla, with different spatio-temporal ranges. The differences are determined by the target geometry and the parameters of the incident laser. Here we present a review of the results of recent experimental studies of laser-driven magnetic field generation, as well as a discussion of the diagnostic techniques required for such rapidly changing magnetic fields. As an extension of the magnetic field generation, some applications are discussed.
We present laboratory measurement and theoretical analysis of silicon K-shell lines in plasmas produced by Shenguang II laser facility, and discuss the application of line ratios to diagnose the electron density and temperature of laser plasmas. Two types of shots were carried out to interpret silicon plasma spectra under two conditions, and the spectra from 6.6 Å to 6.85 Å were measured. The radiative-collisional code based on the flexible atomic code (RCF) is used to identify the lines, and it also well simulates the experimental spectra. Satellite lines, which are populated by dielectron capture and large radiative decay rate, influence the spectrum profile significantly. Because of the blending of lines, the traditional
value are not applicable in diagnosing electron temperature and density of plasma. We take the contribution of satellite lines into the calculation of line ratios of He-
lines, and discuss their relations with the electron temperature and density.
The driving mechanism of solar flares and coronal mass ejections is a topic of ongoing debate, apart from the consensus that magnetic reconnection plays a key role during the impulsive process. While present solar research mostly depends on observations and theoretical models, laboratory experiments based on high-energy density facilities provide the third method for quantitatively comparing astrophysical observations and models with data achieved in experimental settings. In this article, we show laboratory modeling of solar flares and coronal mass ejections by constructing the magnetic reconnection system with two mutually approaching laser-produced plasmas circumfused of self-generated megagauss magnetic fields. Due to the Euler similarity between the laboratory and solar plasma systems, the present experiments demonstrate the morphological reproduction of flares and coronal mass ejections in solar observations in a scaled sense, and confirm the theory and model predictions about the current-sheet-born anomalous plasmoid as the initial stage of coronal mass ejections, and the behavior of moving-away plasmoid stretching the primary reconnected field lines into a secondary current sheet conjoined with two bright ridges identified as solar flares.
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