We present an indirect method of estimating the strength of a shock wave, allowing on line monitoring of its reproducibility in each laser shot. This method is based on a shot-to-shot measurement of the X-ray emission from the ablated plasma by a high resolution, spatially resolved focusing spectrometer. An optical pump laser with energy of 1.0 J and pulse duration of ∼660 ps was used to irradiate solid targets or foils with various thicknesses containing Oxygen, Aluminum, Iron, and Tantalum. The high sensitivity and resolving power of the X-ray spectrometer allowed spectra to be obtained on each laser shot and to control fluctuations of the spectral intensity emitted by different plasmas with an accuracy of ∼2%, implying an accuracy in the derived electron plasma temperature of 5%–10% in pump–probe high energy density science experiments. At nano- and sub-nanosecond duration of laser pulse with relatively low laser intensities and ratio Z/A ∼ 0.5, the electron temperature follows Te ∼ Ilas2/3. Thus, measurements of the electron plasma temperature allow indirect estimation of the laser flux on the target and control its shot-to-shot fluctuation. Knowing the laser flux intensity and its fluctuation gives us the possibility of monitoring shot-to-shot reproducibility of shock wave strength generation with high accuracy.

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