The effect of a dense plasma environment on the energy levels of an embedded ion is usually described in terms of the lowering of its continuum level. For strongly coupled plasmas, the phenomenon is intimately related to the equation of state; hence, an accurate treatment is crucial for most astrophysical and inertial-fusion applications, where the case of plasma mixtures is of particular interest. Here we present an experiment showing that the standard density-dependent analytical models are inadequate to describe solid-density plasmas at the temperatures studied, where the reduction of the binding energies for a given species is unaffected by the different plasma environment (ion density) in either the element or compounds of that species, and can be accurately estimated by calculations only involving the energy levels of an isolated neutral atom. The results have implications for the standard approaches to the equation of state calculations.
Ciricosta, O., Vinko, S. M., Barbrel, B., Rackstraw, D. S., Preston, T. R., Burian, T., … Wark, J. S. (2016). Measurements of continuum lowering in solid-density plasmas created from elements and compounds. Nature Communications, 7. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms11713