Relativistic magnetic reconnection experiment at CLF TAW

A 5-week experiment using the Central Laser Facility’s VULCAN Target Area West (TAW) laser has just come to an end.  The experiment explored the evolution of magnetic fields formed between two high intensity laser pulses at the surface of a solid target by probing the dynamic fields with a broad energy spread proton beam.  TAW is the perfect facility for these studies providing multiple high intensity pulses for generation of the reconnection fields and the probing proton beam.  In addition to study of the magnetic fields, angularly resolved measurements of the electron beam accelerated from the reconnecting region have allowed us to observe directional, non-thermal components to the energy spectra.  Further analysis of this in combination with the proton probing images will help us to understand the details of this highly dynamic process.

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