Counterpropagating Radiative Shock Experiments on the Orion Laser
AbstractWe present new experiments to study the formation of radiative shocks and the interaction between two counterpropagating radiative shocks. The experiments are performed at the Orion laser facility, which is used to drive shocks in xenon inside large aspect ratio gas cells. The collision between the two shocks and their respective radiative precursors, combined with the formation of inherently three-dimensional shocks, provides a novel platform particularly suited for the benchmarking of numerical codes. The dynamics of the shocks before and after the collision are investigated using point-projection x-ray backlighting while, simultaneously, the electron density in the radiative precursor was measured via optical laser interferometry. Modeling of the experiments using the 2D radiation hydrodynamic codes nym and petra shows very good agreement with the experimental results.