The development of picosecond and femtosecond laser technologies has made possible the production of ultra bright laser sources. These sources are used, for example, in laser-solid target interaction studies. In this case absorption occurs in an optical skin depth at the solid surface and little or no expansion of the heated material takes place after the short laser pulse, thus creating a hot plasma at solid density. These very short-lived plasmas are a means of producing ultra short x-ray pulses. Furthermore, there are rapid electron heating, ionization, and recombination processes in the solid dense plasma. Population inversion can also be expected during the rapid plasma cooling. Thus, these plasmas are interesting candidates for x-ray lasers.

© 1992 Optical Society of America

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