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Pulsed plasma in a capillary tube – Hot dense solar corona plasma is potential x-ray source

April 24, 2012

By injecting very fast pulses of electrical current into a micro-capillary channel, a team of scientists at Colorado State University has created hot dense pulsed plasmas with temperatures similar to those of the solar corona. The miniature plasma sword is a  dense column of ionized gas generated from heavy atoms.

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The efficient creation of hot-dense pulsed plasmas will directly impact the development of compact and practical sources of x-ray radiation including soft x-ray lasers. They can also contribute to the development of compact neutron sources, guide intense laser beams in plasmas and advance other more fundamental studies.

Computer models predicted that flowing very fast electrical current through gas-filled micro-capillary channels would efficiently heat dense columns of ionized gas to temperatures of several millions of degrees. Electromagnetic forces compress and heat the column in which hot electrons collide with the atoms stripping them of numerous electrons and creating highly charged atoms.

The Colorado State University researchers generated a xenon pulsed plasma in which a large fraction of the atoms were stripped of 26 electrons using very modest currents.

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