The research in dense Z-pinch plasmas has become an important piece of basic high energy density physics. The application of Z-pinches is manifold, from large energetic x-ray yield to economical fusion energy production. However the indisputable success of wire array implosions set aside gas-puff Z-pinches. Yet, they are an extremely promising vehicle for basic high energy density plasma science.

Supersonic gas puff valve for gas puff Z-pinch experiments

One research avenue connect plasma stability to gas mixtures and gas jet configurations. Particular attention is devoted to the impact of the electric field on plasma stability and confinement via electrode shaping. Plasma radiation yield should increase with density profile optimization.

The next research interest highlights the best configurations to investigate turbulent plasma behavior by studying the intrinsic plasma core turbulence. We hope to characterize scale lengths and growth rates of the magnetic Rayleigh-Taylor instability. The impact of both parallel (vertical) and perpendicular (radial) flow will also be assessed. We are studing further the turbulent plasma boundary by mixing gas-puff Z pinches with denser plasmas, from metallic wires or foils, therefore enhancing the contrast of plasma turbulence.

Another part of our research program is to understand the impact of magnetic field and turbulence on mass and heat transport. Since the magnetic field is accessible in gas puff Z-pinches from spectroscopic measurements we are first studying its contribution to transport and shock formation. The earlier techniques developed to study turbulence are used to also assess how it connects to transport and shocks.

Throughout this research we are also developping novel diagnostics necessary to the characterization of gas puff Z-pinches, in particular the plasma temperature, velocity field and magnetic field. Our research provides an in-depth understanding of the basic physics of gas puff Z-pinches and it stimulates the national and international research in this area. Its breadth, while complementing earlier experimental results, also focuses on modern and important topics in HED plasmas, such as magnetic field measurements or turbulence studies.