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Publications by
Zhanna Samsonova

All publications of HI Jena


E. Eftekhari-Zadeh, M. S. Blümcke, Z. Samsonova, R. Loetzsch, I. Uschmann, M. Zapf, C. Ronning, O. N. Rosmej, D. Kartashov, and C. Spielmann
Laser energy absorption and x-ray generation in nanowire arrays irradiated by relativistically intense ultra-high contrast femtosecond laser pulses
Physics of Plasmas 29, 013301 (2022)

Abstract: We report here on the results of comparative experimental measurements of laser energy absorption in a bulk and different morphology nanowire arrays interacting with relativistically intense, ultra-high temporal contrast femtosecond laser pulses. We compare polished, flat bulk samples with vertically and randomly oriented nanowires made of ZnO semiconductor material. The optical absorption of the 45° incident laser pulses of ∼40 fs duration with a central wavelength of 400 nm at intensities above 1019Wcm2 was determined using an integrating Ulbricht sphere. We demonstrate an almost twofold enhancement of absorption in both nanowire morphologies with an average of (79.6±1.9)% in comparison to the flat bulk sample of (45.8±1.9)%. The observed substantially enhanced absorption in nanowire arrays is also confirmed by high-resolution x-ray emission spectroscopy. The spectral analysis of the K-shell x-ray emission lines revealed that the He-like resonance line emission from highly ionized Zn (Zn28+) is only present in the case of nanowire arrays, whereas, for the flat bulk samples, only neutral and low charge states were observed. Our numerical simulations, based on radiative-collisional kinetic code FLYCHK, well reproduce the measured He-like emission spectrum and suggest that high charge state observed in nanowire arrays is due to substantially higher plasma temperature. Our results, which were measured for the first time with femtosecond laser pulses, can be used to benchmark theoretical models and numerical codes for the relativistic interaction of ultrashort laser pulses with nanowires.


P. Polynkin, Z. Samsonova, A. Englesbe, A. Lucero, J. Elle, and A. Schmitt-Sody
Channeling the dielectric breakdown of air by a sequence of laser-generated plasma filaments [Invited]
Journal of the Optical Society of America B 36, 3024 (2019)

Abstract: We have investigated channeling the DC dielectric breakdown of a 20 cm air gap by a sequence of four concatenated plasma filaments, independently produced by four focused, 5-ps-long laser pulses. The polarity of the applied DC voltage, as well as the temporal delay between the four pulses, was varied from a few to 400 ns, in an attempt to find the optimum direction and speed of the stepping filament sequence. We have found that the filament sequence reliably channeled the breakdown and measurably reduced the breakdown threshold voltage, relative to that in the unguided breakdown. However, no meaningful dependence on either the polarity of the applied DC voltage or the stepping speed of the filament sequence was observed. Our results support the established scenario of channeling the DC air breakdown by laser filaments, which is primarily based on the creation of a reduced-density air channel bridging the discharge gap. The channeling mechanism associated with seeding the discharge leader by the filament plasma plays a negligible role.

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
Relativistic interaction of ultra-short laser pulses with nanostructured solids
Doctoral thesis
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Physikalisch-Astronomische Fakultät (2019)

Abstract: Relativistic interaction of ultra-intense laser pulses with nanostructured solids is widely considered to be one of the most promising directions for research in high energy density physics. This thesis investigates the influence of the target morphology on the plasma parameters and produced hard X-ray emission. The study is rather broad and covering a range of emerging applications such as a development of efficient X-ray sources and generation of the extreme states of matter for laboratory astrophysics.
We have performed a sequence of experimental campaigns starting from a benchmark experiment at moderate laser intensities and continuing with measurements at relativistic intensities (Iλ^2 ≥1.3 × 10^18 Wcm−2μm2). A set of fundamental questions regarding the laser energy absorption and morphology dependent plasma dynamics were addressed. Measurements of the bremsstrahlung emission and K-shell emission helped to draw some very important conclusions. First of all, nanowire targets are impractical for the generation of the cold line emission since they demonstrate essentially the same photon flux as the flat targets. However, according to the detected emission from the highly charged ion states (He- and H-like), nanowire morphology enables an effective generation of hot dense plasmas. Spectroscopic analysis of the produced X-ray emission, as the main diagnostic tool, revealed keV temperatures and solid density (≥10^23 cm−3) plasmas. In fact, such plasmas can be generated also with a planar target, however only in a thin top layer since the laser cannot deposit energy deeper. The use of NW arrays, on the other hand, increases the laser energy absorption and the interaction volume, resulting in an effective plasma heating, which does not take place for the flat targets. We have also experimentally observed higher flux and higher energies of the ions accelerated away from the front surface of the target matching with the other observations.
The experimental results were supported by numerical simulations. For the chosencases, we have synthesized X-ray line spectra using the plasma parameters provided by the Particle-in-Cell (PIC) and Hydrodynamic (HD) simulations. A good correlation between the measured and synthetic spectra has been achieved. The plasma dynamics for the case of flat and nanostructured solids is strikingly different. For hot high-density plasmas, the collisional rates (e.g., ionization, excitation) are high and, therefore, radiative cooling of the plasmas may overrun hydrodynamic cooling, as it happens for nanowire targets. This naturally causes a great increase in the X-ray yield.
The response of the flat and nanowire targets was investigated in the interaction with short- and long-wavelength laser pulses (0.4 μm and 3.9 μm), corresponding to completely different regimes of interaction. While ultra-short laser pulses in UV, visible and near-infrared are commonly used in laser-induced plasma studies, femtosecond mid-infrared pulses have not been yet extensively applied. In this thesis, we highlight the potential of such long-wavelength drivers to generate hot and dense plasmas. We demonstrate that this becomes feasible only with nanowire targets.


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.


R. Hollinger, Z. Samsonova, D. Gupta, C. Spielmann, R. Röder, L. Trefflich, C. Ronning, and D. Kartashov
Enhanced absorption and cavity effects of three-photon pumped ZnO nanowires
Applied Physics Letters 111, 213106 (2017)

Abstract: Semiconductor nanowire (NW) lasers attract a lot of attention as potential elements of nanophotonic circuits and lab-on-a chip devices. Here, we report on the experimental investigation of stimulated near ultraviolet (NUV) emission, pumped by three-photon absorption from near infrared femtosecond laser pulses, from ZnO NW arrays of different morphologies and compare it to the bulk. The spectrally and temporally resolved measurements of the NUV emission show both strong enhancements in the absorption and emission properties of the nanowire arrays compared to bulk samples. Thus, we determine a many times higher three-photon absorption in the nanostructure morphology compared to the bulk material. Furthermore, the threshold pumping intensity for stimulated emission in a vertically oriented nanowire array is twice lower and the emission onset time is shorter than in randomly oriented arrays, revealing strong influence of the macroscopic nanowire arrangement.

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.