We have performed short-pulse x-ray scattering measurements on laser-driven shock-compressed plastic samples in the warm dense matter regime, providing instantaneous snapshots of the system evolution. Time-resolved and angularly resolved scattered spectra sensitive to the correlation effects in the plasma show the appearance of short-range order within a few interionic separations. Comparison with radiation-hydrodynamic simulations indicates that the shocked plastic is compressed with a temperature of a few electron volts. These results are important for the understanding of the thermodynamic behavior of strongly correlated matter for conditions relevant to both laboratory astrophysics and inertial confinement fusion research.
- Physics and Astronomy(all)