Abstract

To generate bright water-window (WW) soft x rays (2.3–4.4 nm), gold slab targets were irradiated with laser pulses (1064 nm, 7 ns, 1 J). Emission spectroscopy showed that the introduction of low-pressure nitrogen enhanced the soft x-ray yield emitted from the laser-produced Au plasma. The intensity of the WW x-ray transported in a 400-Pa N2 atmosphere from the laser-produced plasma increased by 3.8 times over that in vacuum. Considering a strong x-ray absorption, the x-ray yield emitted directly from the Au plasma in the N2 gas was evaluated to be 13 times higher than that in vacuum. Although similar measurements were made for various gases, only N2 gas causes an increase in a soft x-ray yield. The processes leading to this enhancement mechanism were revealed by using hydrodynamic simulation and atomic structure codes.

© 2019 Optical Society of America

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