In this work, we discuss experimental observations on the dynamics of a fast, low energy capillary discharge when operated in argon and its properties as an intense source of extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) radiation. The discharge pre-ionization and self-triggering were accomplished by the use of the hollow cathode effect. This allowed a compact size and low inductance discharge with multi-kA current level and a quarter-period of ∼10 ns at sub-Joule energy level. We used the novel moiré and schlieren diagnostics with a 12 ps laser to obtain the time evolution of the line electron density and to study the plasma dynamics. EUV spectroscopy and filtered diodes were also implemented to estimate the plasma temperature and density throughout the evolution of the discharge. EUV source size was measured by using a filtered slit-wire camera. We observed that EUV emission starts from a compressed plasma on axis during the second quarter-period of the current and continues until the fifth quarter-period. Ionization levels from Ar VII to X were observed. By comparing the EUV emission spectra with synthetic spectra, we found that at the onset of emission (∼7 ns), the plasma is well fitted by a single Maxwellian electron distribution function with Te ∼ 12 eV and ne ∼ 1017 cm−3. Close to peak emission (∼13 ns), plasma temperature and density increase to ∼20 eV and ne ∼ 1018 cm−3, respectively. However, in order to successfully match the experimental data, a two component electron distribution function was necessary. Later in time, a smaller fraction in the high energy component and higher temperature suggests homogenization of the plasma. The moiré and schlieren diagnostics showed multiple radial compression-waves merging on axis throughout the discharge; they are an important heating mechanism that leads to a period of severe turbulence at peak EUV emission. It was also observed that emission ceases when the axial maximum of the electron density collapses.
Time-resolved study of the extreme-ultraviolet emission and plasma dynamics of a sub-Joule, fast capillary discharge
J. C. Valenzuela, E. S. Wyndham, M. Favre; Time-resolved study of the extreme-ultraviolet emission and plasma dynamics of a sub-Joule, fast capillary discharge. Phys. Plasmas 1 August 2015; 22 (8): 083501. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4927775
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