The X-ray bursts correlate with the plasma jet diameter being choked by ripples, like those that occur at the interface separating a heavy fluid on top of a lighter fluid. The ripples choke the jet electric current to produce an electric field that accelerates electrons. This is akin to putting one's thumb on a garden hose to choke the water flow and make a large pressure drop that accelerates a small amount of water to high velocity to make a spray. The team's discovery of how these microsecond X-ray bursts form shows detailed collision statistics are important when dealing with cold plasmas.
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