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Rev Sci Instrum. 2013 Jan;84(1):013904. doi: 10.1063/1.4774389.

Impact system for ultrafast synchrotron experiments.

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  • 1Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545, USA.


The impact system for ultrafast synchrotron experiments, or IMPULSE, is a 12.6-mm bore light-gas gun (<1 km/s projectile velocity) designed specifically for performing dynamic compression experiments using the advanced imaging and X-ray diffraction methods available at synchrotron sources. The gun system, capable of reaching projectile velocities up to 1 km/s, was designed to be portable for quick insertion/removal in the experimental hutch at Sector 32 ID-B of the Advanced Photon Source (Argonne, IL) while allowing the target chamber to rotate for sample alignment with the beam. A key challenge in using the gun system to acquire dynamic data on the nanosecond time scale was synchronization (or bracketing) of the impact event with the incident X-ray pulses (80 ps width). A description of the basic gun system used in previous work is provided along with details of an improved launch initiation system designed to significantly reduce the total system time from launch initiation to impact. Experiments were performed to directly measure the gun system time and to determine the gun performance curve for projectile velocities ranging from 0.3 to 0.9 km/s. All results show an average system time of 21.6 ± 4.5 ms, making it possible to better synchronize the gun system and detectors to the X-ray beam.

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