Experiments were performed in which ultrahigh intensity laser pulses (I>5×1019 W cm-2) were used to irradiate thin wire targets. It was observed that such interactions generate a large number of relativistic electrons which escape the target and induce multimega ampere return currents within the wire. MHD instabilities can subsequently be observed in the pinching plasma along with field emission of electrons from nearby objects. Coherent optical transition radiation from adjacent objects was also observed.
- laser pulses
- pinching plasma