Interaction between a central outflow and a surrounding wind is common in astrophysical sources powered by accretion. Understanding how the interaction might help to collimate the inner central outflow is of interest for assessing astrophysical jet formation paradigms. In this context, we studied the interaction between two nested supersonic plasma flows generated by focusing a long-pulse high-energy laser beam onto a solid target. A nested geometry was created by shaping the energy distribution at the focal spot with a dedicated phase plate. Optical and x-ray diagnostics were used to study the interacting flows. Experimental results and numerical hydrodynamic simulations indeed show the formation of strongly collimated jets. Our work experimentally confirms the “shock-focused inertial confinement” mechanism proposed in previous theoretical astrophysics investigations.
20 December 2013
Physical Review Letters, Volume 112, Issue 15, id.155001