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Evidence of free-bound transitions in warm dense matter

Dornheim, T.; Böhme, M.; Kraus, D.; Preston, T.; Döppner, T.; Moldabekov, Z.; Baczewski, A.; Fletcher, L.; Vorberger, J.

Abstract

Warm dense matter (WDM) is now routinely created and probed in laboratories
around the world, providing unprecedented insights into conditions achieved in
stellar atmospheres, planetary interiors, and inertial confinement fusion
experiments. However, the interpretation of these experiments is often filtered
through models with systematic errors that are difficult to quantify. Due to the
simultaneous presence of quantum degeneracy and thermal excitation, processes in
which free electrons are de-excited into thermally unoccupied bound states
transferring momentum and energy to a scattered x-ray photon become viable [1].
Here we show that such free-bound transitions are a particular feature of WDM and
vanish in the limits of cold and hot temperatures. The inclusion of these processes
into the analysis of recent X-ray Thomson Scattering (XRTS) experiments on
WDM at the National Ignition Facility [2] (see the figure below) and the Linac
Coherent Light Source [3] significantly improves model fits, indicating that free-
bound transitions have been observed without previously being identified. This
interpretation is corroborated by agreement with a recently developed model-free
thermometry technique [4,5] and presents an important step for precisely
characterizing and understanding the complex WDM state of matter.

  • Poster
    Current challenges in the physics of white dwarf stars, 25.-29.03.2024, Santa Fe, USA

Permalink: https://www.hzdr.de/publications/Publ-38925