In 2008 I worked at UCLA on an experiment studying collisionless shock waves. In a normal shock wave, the wave propagation is conducted through atomic/molecular collisions. In a collisionless shock wave the shock interactions are through the Coloumb force.
In the experiment shock waves are generated by ablating material from a solid target with a high-power short-pulse laser into an ambient background plasma. For this project I developed diagnostic techniques to determine ion velocity distributions in the laser plasma blowoff.