Ballistic focusing of polyenergetic protons driven by petawatt laser pulses

Kar, S. and Markey, K. and Borghesi, M. and Carroll, D. C. and McKenna, P. and Neely, D. and Quinn, M. N. and Zepf, M. (2011) Ballistic focusing of polyenergetic protons driven by petawatt laser pulses. Physical Review Letters, 106 (22). ISSN 0031-9007

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Abstract

By using a thick (250 mu m) target with 350 mu m radius of curvature, the intense proton beam driven by a petawatt laser is focused at a distance of similar to 1 mm from the target for all detectable energies up to similar to 25 MeV. The thickness of the foil facilitates beam focusing as it suppresses the dynamic evolution of the beam divergence caused by peaked electron flux distribution at the target rear side. In addition, reduction in inherent beam divergence due to the target thickness relaxes the curvature requirement for short-range focusing. Energy resolved mapping of the proton beam trajectories from mesh radiographs infers the focusing and the data agree with a simple geometrical modeling based on ballistic beam propagation.