Description: The detailed understanding of the formation and evolution of plasma from rapidly heated metallic wires is a long-standing challenge in the field of plasma physics and in exploding wire engineering. This physical process is made even more complicated if the wire material is composed of a number of individual layers. The authors have successfully developed both optical and x-ray backlighting diagnostics. In particular, the x-ray backlighting technique has demonstrated the capability for quantitative determination of the plasma density over a wide range of densities. This diagnostic capability shows that the process of plasma formation is composed of two separate phases: first, current is passed through a cold wire and the wire is heated ohmically, and, second, the heated wire evolves gases that break down and forms a low-density plasma surrounding the wire.
Date: January 1, 2000
Creator: Spielman, R.B.
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