Measurements of fast electron beams and soft X-ray emission from plasma-focus experiments

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The paper reports results of the recent experimental studies of pulsed electron beams and soft X-rays in plasma-focus (PF) experiments carried out within a modified PF-360U facility at the NCBJ, Poland. Particular attention was focused on time-resolved measurements of the fast electron beams by means of two different magnetic analyzers, which could record electrons of energy ranging from about 41 keV to about 715 keV in several (6 or 8) measuring channels. For discharges performed with the pure deuterium filling, many strong electron signals were recorded in all the measuring channels. Those signals were well correlated with the first hard X-ray pulse detected by an external scintillation neutron-counter. In some of the analyzer channels, electron spikes (lasting about dozens of nanoseconds) and appearing in different instants after the current peculiarity (so-called current dip) were also recorded. For several discharges, fast ion beams, which were emitted along the z-axis and recorded with nuclear track detectors, were also investigated. Those measurements confirmed a multibeam character of the ion emission. The time-integrated soft X-ray images, which were taken side-on by means of a pinhole camera and sensitive X-ray films, showed the appearance of some filamentary structures and so-called hot spots. The application of small amounts of admixtures of different heavy noble gases, i.e. of argon (4.8% volumetric), krypton (1.6% volumetric), or xenon (0.8% volumetric), decreased intensity of the recorded electron beams, but increased intensity of the soft X-ray emission and showed more distinct and numerous hot spots. The recorded electron spikes have been explained as signals produced by quasi-mono-energetic microbeams emitted from tiny sources (probably plasma diodes), which can be formed near the observed hot spots.

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