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A shock front is usually considered as a simple discontinuity in density or pressure. Yet in strongly shocked gases, the atoms are ionized into electrons and ions. The large difference in the electron pressure across the shock front can generate a strong electric field.
In experimental campaigns using the OMEGA EP laser at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) at the University of Rochester, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), University of California San Diego (UCSD) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers took radiographs of the shock front, similar to the X-ray radiology in hospitals with protons instead of X-rays.
Protons - Particles - Field - Changes - Trajectories
Protons are charged particles that can be deflected by an electric field. Therefore, detecting the changes in their trajectories will provide information on the electric field. "Our proton probe is broadband," said Rui Hua, a graduate student at UCSD and the first author of the paper published in Applied Physical Letters. "Measuring energy-dependent deflections allows...
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