Abstract

We demonstrate that interferometric probing with extreme ultraviolet (EUV) laser light enables determination of the degree of ionization of the “warm dense matter” produced between the critical and ablation surfaces of laser plasmas. Interferometry has been utilized to measure both transmission and phase information for an EUV laser beam at the photon energy of 58.5eV, probing longitudinally through laser-irradiated plastic (parylene-N) targets (thickness 350nm) irradiated by a 300ps duration pulse of wavelength 438nm and peak irradiance 1012Wcm2. The transmission of the EUV probe beam provides a measure of the rate of target ablation, as ablated plasma becomes close to transparent when the photon energy is less than the ionization energy of the predominant ion species. We show that refractive indices η below the solid parylene N (ηsolid=0.946) and expected plasma values are produced in the warm dense plasma created by laser irradiation due to bound-free absorption in C+.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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