Experimental studies in laser interaction with wavelength scale matter via second harmonic production and hard x-ray production
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This dissertation presents the results of two experimental campaigns in the field of high intensity laser matter interaction. A common thread with both experiments was the use of wavelength scale spheres as the targets. A crucial feature of our experiments was the use uniformly sized spheres; this was done in order to facilitate exploration and interpretation of light interaction at this size scale. The first experiment was an attempt to measure the angular distribution of the second harmonic radiation from wavelength sized spheres. We run many versions of this experiment incrementally refining our technique but at the end the desired signal was too weak to be reliably reproduced. The second experiment measured and characterized an increase in x-ray yield of a target coated with wavelength scale spheres. We conducted the experiment with a range of sphere sizes and we noted a peak in the x-ray yield at a sphere diameter of 0.26 micrometers corresponding to a size parameter of 2.04.