We report results from a study of the integrated column density and expansion dynamics of ground-state-selected Ba+ ions in a laser–plasma plume using a new experimental system—VPIF (vacuum-ultraviolet photoabsorption imaging facility). The ions are tracked by recording the attenuation of a pulsed and collimated vacuum ultraviolet beam, tuned to the 5p–6d inner-shell resonance of singly ionized barium, as the expanding plasma plume moves across it. The attenuated beam is allowed to fall on a CCD array where the spatial distribution of the absorption is recorded. Time-resolved ion velocity and integrated column density maps are readily extracted from the photoionization images.
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