Anisotropic Surface Broadening and Core Depletion during the Evolution of a Strong-Field Induced Nanoplasma

Camila Bacellar, Adam S. Chatterley, Florian Lackner, C. D. Pemmaraju, Rico Mayro P. Tanyag, Deepak Verma, Charles Bernando, Sean M. O. O'Connell, Maximilian Bucher, Ken R. Ferguson, Tais Gorkhover, Ryan N. Coffee, Giacomo Coslovich, Dipanwita Ray, Timur Osipov, Daniel M. Neumark, Christoph Bostedt*, Andrey F. Vilesov*, Oliver Gessner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Strong-field ionization of nanoscale clusters provides excellent opportunities to study the complex correlated electronic and nuclear dynamics of near-solid density plasmas. Yet, monitoring ultrafast, nanoscopic dynamics in real-time is challenging, which often complicates a direct comparison between theory and experiment. Here, near-infrared laser-induced plasma dynamics in ∼600  nm diameter helium droplets are studied by femtosecond time-resolved x-ray coherent diffractive imaging. An anisotropic, ∼20  nm wide surface region, defined as the range where the density lies between 10% and 90% of the core value, is established within ∼100  fs, in qualitative agreement with theoretical predictions. At longer timescales, however, the width of this region remains largely constant while the radius of the dense plasma core shrinks at average rates of ≈71  nm/ps along and ≈33  nm/ps perpendicular to the laser polarization. These dynamics are not captured by previous plasma expansion models. The observations are phenomenologically described within a numerical simulation; details of the underlying physics, however, remain to be explored.
Original languageEnglish
Article number073201
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Fields of Expertise

  • Advanced Materials Science


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