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Fast ion acceleration from thin foils irradiated by ultra-high intensity, ultra-high contrast laser pulses

Prasad, R. and Andreev, A. A. and Ter-Avetisyan, S. and Doria, D. and Quinn, K. E. and Romagnani, L. and Brenner, C. M. and Carroll, D. C. and Dover, N. P. and Neely, D. and Foster, P. S. and Gallegos, P. and Green, J. S. and McKenna, P. and Najmudin, Z. and Palmer, C. A. J. and Schreiber, J. and Streeter, M. J. V. and Tresca, O. and Zepf, M. and Borghesi, M. (2011) Fast ion acceleration from thin foils irradiated by ultra-high intensity, ultra-high contrast laser pulses. Applied Physics Letters, 99 (12). -. ISSN 0003-6951

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Ion acceleration resulting from the interaction of ultra-high intensity (2 x 10(20) W/cm(2)) and ultra-high contrast (similar to 10(10)) laser pulses with 0.05-10 mu m thick Al foils at normal (0 degrees) and 35 degrees laser incidence is investigated. When decreasing the target thickness from 10 mu m down to 0.05 mu m, the accelerated ions become less divergent and the ion flux increases, particularly at normal (0 degrees) laser incidence on the target. A laser energy conversion into protons of,similar to 6.5% is estimated at 35 degrees laser incidence. Experimental results are in reasonable agreement with theoretical estimates and can be a benchmark for further theoretical and computational work.