On Earth, the behavior of highly charged ions can be studied spectroscopically in an Electron Beam Ion Trap (EBIT). The EBIT produces customized, well-characterized, homogeneous plasmas for a wide variety of precision measurements. It is uniquely capable of simulating specific astrophysical plasma conditions to systematically examine how the atomic structure and dynamics of plasma ions influence the energy release in cosmic x-ray sources. As a byproduct, a comprehensive data base is becoming available for comparison with theoretical atomic physics calculations.
In this talk, I will review how an EBIT is used to perform experiments in atomic and plasma physics relevant to astrophysical plasmas. Spectral measurements with a broad bandwidth, high resolution X-ray microcalorimeter will be presented from experiments that simulate the conditions of stellar coronae via electron collisions with ions. Experiments that mimic the exotic photoionized plasma conditions in the gas near black holes are planned and will also be discussed.
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