Lasers Simulate Astronomical Phenomena
The magnetic fields produced in the interaction of intense laser pulses and dense plasmas may enable researchers to test models of neutron stars and white dwarfs in the lab, suggests a team of European scientists.
The group, which includes members from Imperial College London, reported the generation of peak magnetic fields of nearly 109 G at the 44th annual meeting of the American Physical Society's plasma physics division in November.
In the team's experiments, polarized 1-ps, 90-J pulses of 1054-nm radiation from the Vulcan laser at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Chilton, UK, were focused to intensities of approximately 1020 W/cm2 on thin, solid targets. Two polarimeters measured the induced ellipticities in the high-harmonic radiation produced in the experiments, which indicate the magnitude of the fields.
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