Invited Article: Relation between electric and magnetic field structures and their proton-beam images
Proton imaging is commonly used to reveal the electric and magnetic fields that are found in high energy density plasmas. Presented here is an analysis of this technique that is directed towards developing additional insight into the underlying physics. This approach considers: formation of images in the limits of weak and strong intensity variations; caustic formation and structure; image inversion to obtain line-integrated field characteristics; direct relations between images and electric or magnetic field structures in a plasma; imaging of sharp features such as Debye sheaths and shocks. Limitations on spatial and temporal resolution are assessed, and similarities with optical shadowgraphy are noted. Synthetic proton images are presented to illustrate the analysis. These results will be useful for quantitatively analyzing experimental proton imaging data and verifying numerical codes.