The brilliance of a laser-produced soft X-ray source is enhanced for gaseous target concepts. In contrast to solid or liquid target materials, these sources are clean and versatile but provide a comparably low conversion efficiency of laser energy into EUV and soft X-ray radiation. The basic idea is to induce supersonic effects in the gas jet, leading to a local increase of the particle density, and thus, to a larger number of possible emitters. Typically, the target gas is expanded into a vacuum environment and the density rapidly drops in all directions. In the present approach, a low pressure helium atmosphere is used to generate shock waves in the supersonic nozzle flow. Passing through these structures, the target gas is recompressed, and the particle density is raised. By focusing the laser beam into such regions, a higher number of gas atoms can be ionized resulting in a brighter and smaller plasma.
Part of the book: High Energy and Short Pulse Lasers