In this paper we report the experimental implementation of a theoretically proposed technique for creating a photoionized plasma in the laboratory using x-ray line radiation. Using a Sn laser plasma to irradiate an Ar gas target, the photoionization parameter, ξ = 4πF/Ne, reached values of order 50erg cm s−1, where F is the radiation flux in erg cm−2 s−1. The significance of this is that this technique allows us to mimic effective spectral radiation temperatures in excess of 1 keV. We show that our plasma starts to be collisionally dominated before the peak of the x-ray drive. However, the technique is extendable to higher-energy laser systems to create plasmas with parameters relevant to benchmarking codes used to model astrophysical objects.

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Published in Physical Review E, v. 97, issue 6, 063203, p. 1-6.

©2018 American Physical Society

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This work was supported by the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council, the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant No. 11573040, Science Challenge Project No. TZ2016005, and Royal Society International Exchanges Grant No. IE161039.

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Supplementary data and raw images used are available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/research.