Final PhD Oral Examination (Thesis Title: “Ultracold Molecular Plasma”)

Event Date and Time: 
Fri, 2017-07-28 09:00 - 11:00
Room 207, Anthropology and Sociology Building
Local Contact: 
Physics and Astronomy, UBC
Intended Audience: 

The conditions afforded by a skimmed free-jet expansion intersected by two laser
pulses, driving resonant transitions in nitric oxide, determine the phase-space volume
of a dense molecular Rydberg ensemble. Spontaneous avalanche to plasma within
this system leads to the development of two macroscopic domains. These domains
are clearly distinguished by their polarizability as well as their locality within the
plasma. The first domain appears at the system core, is polarized by fields exceeding
500 mV/cm and displays an ambipolar expansion character suggestive of initial
electron temperatures exceeding ~150 Kelvin. The second domain travels with the
velocity of the supersonic beam and is robust to the application of several hundred
V/cm pulses. It is further distinguished through the apparent arrest of relaxation
channels, annealing the domain over a millisecond or more in a state far from thermal
equilibrium. Both domains are linked via the spontaneous breaking of ellipsoidal
symmetry to form bifurcating arrested volumes.

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