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Publications by
Dr. Sebastian Höfer

All publications of HI Jena


Z. Samsonova, S. Höfer, V. Kaymak, S. Ališauskas, V. Shumakova, A. Pugžlys, A. Baltuška, T. Siefke, S. Kroker, A. Pukhov, O. Rosmej, I. Uschmann, C. Spielmann, and D. Kartashov
Relativistic Interaction of Long-Wavelength Ultrashort Laser Pulses with Nanowires
Physical Review X 9, 021029 (2019)

Abstract: We report on experimental results in a new regime of relativistic light-matter interaction employing midinfrared (3.9-mu m wavelength) high-intensity femtosecond laser pulses. In the laser-generated plasma, electrons reach relativistic energies already for rather low intensities due to the fortunate lambda(2) scaling of the kinetic energy with the laser wavelength. The lower intensity efficiently suppresses optical field ionization and creation of the preplasma at the rising edge of the laser pulse, enabling an enhanced efficient vacuum heating of the plasma. The lower critical plasma density for long-wavelength radiation can be surmounted by using nanowires instead of flat targets. Numerical simulations, which are in a good agreement with experimental results, suggest that approximate to 80% of the incident laser energy has been absorbed resulting in a long-living, key-temperature, high-charge-state plasma with a density more than 3 orders of magnitude above the critical value. Our results pave the way to laser-driven experiments on laboratory astrophysics and nuclear physics at a high repetition rate.


Z. Samsonova, S. Höfer, R. Hollinger, T. Kämpfer, I. Uschmann, R. Röder, L. Trefflich, O. Rosmej, E. Förster, C. Ronning, D. Kartashov, and C. Spielmann
Hard X-ray generation from ZnO nanowire targets in a non-relativistic regime of laser-solid interactions
Applied Sciences 8, 1728 (2018)

Abstract: We present a detailed investigation of X-ray emission from both flat and nanowire zinc oxide targets irradiated by 60 fs 5E16 W/cm^2 intensity laser pulses at a 0.8 µm wavelength. It is shown that the fluence of the emitted hard X-ray radiation in the spectral range 150–800 keV is enhanced by at least one order of magnitude for nanowire targets compared to the emission from a flat surface, whereas the characteristic Kα line emission (8.64 keV) is insensitive to the target morphology. Furthermore, we provide evidence for a dramatic increase of the fast electron flux from the front side of the nanostructured targets. We suggest that targets with nanowire morphology may advance the development of compact ultrafast X-ray sources with an enhanced flux of hard X-ray emission that could find wide applications in high energy density (HED) physics.

O. N. Rosmej, Z. Samsonova, S. Höfer, D. Kartashov, C. Arda, D. Khaghani, A. Schoenlein, S. Zähter, A. Hoffmann, R. Loetzsch, A. Saevert, I. Uschmann, M. E. Povarnitsyn, N. E. Andreev, L. P. Pugachev, M. C. Kaluza, and C. Spielmann
Generation of keV hot near-solid density plasma states at high contrast laser-matter interaction
Physics of Plasmas 25, 083103 (2018)

Abstract: We present experimental evidence of ultra-high energy density plasma states with the keV bulk electron temperatures and near-solid electron densities generated during the interaction of high contrast, relativistically intense laser pulses with planar metallic foils. Experiments were carried out with the Ti:Sapphire laser system where a picosecond pre-pulse was strongly reduced by the conversion of the fundamental laser frequency into 2ω. A complex diagnostics setup was used for evaluation of the electron energy distribution in a wide energy range. The bulk electron temperature and density have been measured using x-ray spectroscopy tools; the temperature of supra-thermal electrons traversing the target was determined from measured bremsstrahlung spectra; run-away electrons were detected using magnet spectrometers. Analysis of the bremsstrahlung spectra and results on measurements of the run-away electrons showed a suppression of the hot electron production in the case of the high laser contrast. Characteristic x-ray radiation has been used for evaluation of the bulk electron temperature and density. The measured Ti line radiation was simulated both in steady-state and transient approaches using the code FLYCHK that accounts for the atomic multi-level population kinetics. The best agreement between the measured and the synthetic spectrum of Ti was achieved at 1.8 keV electron temperature and 2 10^23 cm^{−3} electron density. By application of Ti-foils covered with nm-thin Fe-layers, we have demonstrated that the thickness of the created keV hot dense plasma does not exceed 150 nm. Results of the pilot hydro-dynamic simulations that are based on a wide-range two-temperature Equation of States, wide-range description of all transport and optical properties, ionization, electron, and radiative heating, plasma expansion, and Maxwell equations (with a wide-range permittivity) for description of the laser absorption are in excellent agreement with experimental results. According to these simulations, the generation of keV-hot bulk electrons is caused by the collisional mechanism of the laser pulse absorption in plasmas with a near solid step-like electron density profile. The laser energy, first deposited into the nm-thin skin-layer, is then transported into 150 nm depth by the electron heat conductivity. This scenario is opposite to the volumetric character of the energy deposition produced by supra-thermal electrons.


Z. Samsonova, S. Höfer, A. Hoffmann, B. Landgraf, M. Zürch, I. Uschmann, D. Khaghani, O. Rosmej, P. Neumayer, R. Röder, L. Trefflich, C. Ronning, E. Förster, C. Spielmann, and D. Kartashov
X-ray emission generated by laser-produced plasmas from dielectric nanostructured targets
AIP Conference Proceedings 1811, 180001 (2017)

Abstract: We present an experimental study of X-ray generation from nanostructured ZnO targets. Samples of different morphology ranging from nanowires to polished surfaces are irradiated by relativistically intense femtosecond laser pulses. X-ray emission of plasma is generated by 45 fs 130 mJ laser pulses at 400 nm with picosecond temporal contrast better than 1E−9 interacting with an array of ZnO nanowires. The measured spectra indicate the existence of highly ionized states of Zn (up to He-like Zn). The obtained flux of ∼1E10 photons per laser shot at the neutral Zn Kα energies around 8.65 keV and at the Zn Heα energies around 9 keV is almost 3 times higher for nanostructured targets compared to the reference polished sample and implies 1E−4 conversion efficiency from the laser energy to the total energy of the emitted X-ray photons.


S. Höfer, T. Kämpfer, E. Förster, T. Stöhlker, and I. Uschmann
The formation of rarefaction waves in semiconductors after ultrashort excitation probed by grazing incidence ultrafast time-resolved x-ray diffraction
Structural Dynamics 3, 051101 (2016)

Abstract: We explore the InSb-semiconductor lattice dynamics after excitation of high density electron-hole plasma with an ultrashort and intense laser pulse. By using time resolved x-ray diffraction, a sub-mA ° and sub-ps resolution was achieved. Thus, a strain of 4% was measured in a 3 nm thin surface layer 2 ps after excitation. The lattice strain was observed for the first 5 ps as exponentially decaying, changing rapidly by time and by depth. The observed phenomena can only be understood assuming nonlinear time dependent laser absorption where the absorption depth decreases by a factor of twenty compared to linear absorption.

C. Hahn, G. Weber, R. Märtin, S. Höfer, T. Kämpfer, and Th. Stöhlker
CdTe Timepix detectors for single-photon spectroscopy and linear polarimetry of high-flux hard x-ray radiation
Review of Scientific Instruments 87, 043106 (2016)

Abstract: Single-photon spectroscopy of pulsed, high-intensity sources of hard X-rays — such as laser-generated plasmas — is often hampered by the pileup of several photons absorbed by the unsegmented, large-volume sensors routinely used for the detection of high-energy radiation. Detectors based on the Timepix chip, with a segmentation pitch of 55 μm and the possibility to be equipped with high-Zsensor chips, constitute an attractive alternative to commonly used passive solutions such as image plates. In this report, we present energy calibration and characterization measurements of such devices. The achievable energy resolution is comparable to that of scintillators for γ spectroscopy. Moreover, we also introduce a simple two-detector Compton polarimeter setup with a polarimeter quality of (98 ± 1)%. Finally, a proof-of-principle polarimetry experiment is discussed, where we studied the linear polarization of bremsstrahlung emitted by a laser-driven plasma and found an indication of the X-raypolarization direction depending on the polarization state of the incident laser pulse.


S. Höfer
Zeitaufgelöste Röntgenbeugung an einkristallinem Indiumantimonid
Doctoral thesis
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Physikalisch-Astronomische Fakultät (2014)

Abstract: In this work the structural changes in the semiconductor indiumantimonide (InSb) after the excitation with an ultrashort laser pulse (60fs) are investigated, by using ultrashort x-ray pulses (100 fs). The source of this ultrashort x-ray pulses is a laser-plasma-x-ray-source. In this source an ultrashort and intense laser pulse is focused to a 20 µm thick metal foil (intensity up to 8*10^16 W/cm^2, wavelength 800 nm), by the produced plasma characteristic x-rays and bremsstrahlung are emitted. To characterize the emitted radiation a novel timepix-detector is used, with this it was possible to detect bremstrahlung up to 700 keV.

The typical extinction depth of x-rays is several millimeter and therefore much deeper than the absorption depth of the excitation laser with 100 nm. By using a strong asymmetric Bragg reflection it was possible to adapt the extinction depth from the x-rays to the absorption depth of the optical laser pulse used for excitation. Through this small extinction depth was it possible to measure 2 ps after excitation a strain of 4% in a 4 nm thin layer on the surface. The excitation of the semiconductor is described with different theoretical models, the predicted temporal and spatial evolution of the strain is compared with measured results.


R. Lötzsch, O. Jäckel, S. Höfer, T. Kämpfer, J. Polz, I. Uschmann, M. C. Kaluza, E. Förster, E. Stambulchik, E. Kroupp, and Y. Maron
K-shell spectroscopy of silicon ions as diagnostic for high electric fields
Review of Scientific Instruments 83, 113507 (2012)

Abstract: We developed a detection scheme, capable of measuring X-ray line shape of tracer ions in μm thick layers at the rear side of a target foil irradiated by ultra intense laser pulses. We performed simulations of the effect of strong electric fields on the K-shell emission of silicon and developed a spectrometer dedicated to record this emission. The combination of a cylindrically bent crystal in von Hámos geometry and a CCD camera with its single photon counting capability allows for a high dynamic range of the instrument and background free spectra. This approach will be used in future experiments to study electric fields of the order of TV/m at high density plasmas close to solid density.


K. S. Schulze, T. Kämpfer, I. Uschmann, S. Höfer, R. Lötzsch, and E. Förster
Laser-excited acoustical phonons probed by ultrashort pulses from a laser-driven x-ray diode
Applied Physics Letters 98, 141109 (2011)

Abstract: We demonstrate that an ultrashort-pulse laser-driven x-ray diode can be used for time-resolved experiments on a picosecond timescale. Hence, acoustical phonons in germanium are observed after ultrashort laser-excitation and the results are compared with calculations according to a microphysical model. We also show the advantages of this kind of picosecond x-ray source compared to other sources on the basis of its properties.

B. Marx, I. Uschmann, S. Höfer, R. Lötzsch, O. Wehrhan, E. Förster, M. C. Kaluza, T. Stöhlker, H. Gies, C. Detlefs, T. Roth, J. Hartwig, and G. G. Paulus
Determination of high-purity polarization state of X-rays
Optics Communications 284, 915 (2011)

Abstract: We report on the measurement of the highest purity of polarization of X-rays to date. The measurements are performed by combining a brilliant undulator source with an X-ray polarimeter. The polarimeter is composed of a polarizer and an analyzer, each based on four reflections at channel-cut crystals with a Bragg angle very close to 45°. Experiments were performed at three different X-ray energies, using different Bragg reflections: Si(400) at 6457.0 eV, Si(444) at 11,183.8 eV, and Si(800) at 12,914.0 eV. At 6 keV a polarization purity of 1.5 × 10^{-9} is achieved. This is an improvement by more than two orders of magnitude as compared to previously reported values. The polarization purity decreases slightly for shorter X-ray wavelengths. The sensitivity of the polarimeter is discussed with respect to a proposed experiment that aims at the detection of the birefringence of vacuum induced by super-strong laser fields.

L. A. Gizzi, S. Betti, E. Förster, D. Giulietti, S. Höfer, P. Köster, L. Labate, R. Lötzsch, A. P. L. Robinson, and I. Uschmann
Role of resistivity gradient in laser-driven ion acceleration
Physical Review Special Topics - Accelerators and Beams 14, 011301 (2011)

Abstract: It was predicted that, when a fast electron beam with some angular spread is normally incident on a resistivity gradient, magnetic field generation can occur that can inhibit beam propagation [A. R. Bell et al. Phys. Rev. E 58 2471 (1998)]. This effect can have consequences on the laser-driven ion acceleration. In the experiment reported here, we compare ion emission from laser irradiated coated and uncoated metal foils and we show that the ion beam from the coated target has a much smaller angular spread. Detailed hybrid numerical simulations confirm that the inhibition of fast electron transport through the resistivity gradient may explain the observed effect.