Heating and cooling of the multiply charged ion nonequilibrium plasma in a high-current extended low-inductance discharge
Using a radiation magnetohydrodynamics two-temperature model (RMHD model) of a high-current volumetric radiating Z-discharge, the heating and cooling of the nitrogen plasma in a pulsed pinched extended discharge is investigated as applied to the problem of creating a recombination laser based on 3 → 2 transitions of hydrogen-like nitrogen ions (λ = 13.4 nm). It is shown that the power supply of the discharge, which is represented by a dual storage-forming line and a transmission line, makes it possible to raise the power density of the nitrogen plasma to 0.01-1.00 TW/cm3. Accordingly, there arises the possibility of generating a fully ionized (i.e., consisting of bare nuclei and electrons) plasma through the heating (compression) of electrons owing to the self-magnetic field of the plasma current and Joule heat even if the plasma is cooled by its own radiation at this stage. Such a plasma is needed to produce the lasing (active) medium of a recombination laser based on electron transitions in hydrogen-like ions. At the second stage, it is necessary to rapidly and deeply cool the plasma to 20-40 eV for 1-2 ns. Cooling of the fully ionized expanding plasma was numerically simulated with the discharge current switched on and off by means of a switch with a rapidly rising resistance. In both cases, the plasma expansion in the discharge is not adiabatic. Even after the discharge current is fairly rapidly switched off, heating of electrons continues inside the plasma column for a time longer than the switching time. Discharge current switchoff improves the electron cooling efficiency only slightly. Under such conditions, the plasma cools down to 50-60 eV in the former case and to 46-54 eV in the latter case for 2-3 ns.