Capturing a New State of Matter: Relativistic Electron-Positron Plasma

Hui Chen | 20-LW-021

Project Overview

Our LDRD research was on the capture of electron-positron pair jets created from intensity laser–matter interaction using a high-field magnetic mirror. The goal was to make a stationary pair plasma in the relativistic regime in the laboratory. We have successfully (1) demonstrated the effective confinement of million electron volt (MeV) electrons inside a pulsed power-driven magnetic mirror field with a mirror field of 13 Tesla and a mirror ratio of 2.5 and, (2) achieved near equal number of electrons and positrons in a collimated pair beam. We have also advanced the diagnostics using multilayer optics as well as magnetic particle spectrometers.

Relativistic electron–positron pair plasmas were a main component of the physical universe shortly after the Big Bang and are still present in many astrophysical objects. They do not exist on earth due to the difficulties of producing pairs in high density and the short lifetime of positrons at highly relativistic energies. This work addressed this fundamental need to study basic plasma physics and to understand some of the most energetic astrophysical phenomena in the universe by advancing Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's capabilities.

Mission Impact

The proposed work addresses Laboratory's Science and Technology mission, specifically, its core competence in high-energy-density physics. Laser-generated electron–positron antimatter plasmas are intrinsically high-energy-density systems and of renewed interest in the ongoing nationwide initiatives on high-power lasers. We have extended our world-leading research role and have further enhanced the Laboratory's competency in this area.

Publications, Presentations, and Patents

Burcklen, C., von der Linden, Descalle, M-A, Chen, H., et al., Rev. Sci. Instrum. (2021).

Burcklen, C., et al., poster presentation, High Temperature Plasma Diagnostics (HTPD) (2020).

Fiksel, G., et al., talk at American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics  (APS DPP) (2020).

Jiang, S., A. Link, D. Canning et al., Applied Physics Letters (2021).

Peebles, J. et al., Physics of Plasmas 28 (7), 074501 (2021).

Stoneking, M. R., T. Sunn Pedersen, P. Helander, et al., J. Plasma Phys. 86, 6 (2020).

von der Linden, J., J. R. Mendez, B. Faddegon et al., Rev. Sci. Instruments 92, 033516 (2021);

von der Linden, J., et al., Phys. Plasmas 28, 092508 (2021);

von der Linden, J. et al., poster presentation, APS DPP (2020)

von der Linden, J. et al., poster presentation, HTPD (2020)