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Laser accelerated, high quality ion beams

Roth, M. and Blazevic, A. and Brambrink, E. and Geissel, M. and Cowan, T.E. and Fuchs, J. and Kemp, A. and Ruhl, H. and Audebert, P. and Cobble, J. and Fernandez, J. and Hegelich, M. and Letzring, S. and Ledingham, K. and McKenna, Paul and Clarke, R. and Neely, D and Karsch, S. and Habs, D. and Schreiber, J. (2005) Laser accelerated, high quality ion beams. Hyperfine Interactions, 162 (1-4). pp. 45-53. ISSN 0304-3843

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Abstract

Intense beams of protons and heavy ions have been observed in ultra-intense laser-solid interaction experiments. Thereby, a considerable fraction of the laser energy is transferred to collimated beams of energetic ions (e.g. up to 50 MeV protons; 100 MeV fluorine), which makes these beams highly interesting for various applications. Experimental results indicate very short pulse duration and an excellent beam quality, leading to beam intensities in the TW range. To characterize the beam quality and its dependence on laser parameters and target conditions we performed experiments at several high-power laser systems, We found a strong dependence on the target rear surface conditions allowing to tailor the ion beam by an appropriate target design. We also succeeded in the generation of heavy ion beams by suppressing the proton amount at the target surface. We will present recent experimental results demonstrating a transverse beam emittance far superior to accelerator-based ion beams. Finally, we will discuss the prospect of laser-accelerated ion beams as new diagnostics in laser-solid interaction experiments. Special fields of interest are proton radiography, electric field imaging, and relativistic electron transport inside the target.