Ion acceleration in multispecies targets driven by intense laser radiation pressure

Kar, S. and Kakolee, K. F. and Qiao, B. and Macchi, A. and Cerchez, M. and Doria, D. and Geissler, M. and McKenna, P. and Neely, D. and Osterholz, J. and Prasad, R. and Quinn, K. and Ramakrishna, B. and Sarri, G. and Willi, O. and Yuan, X. Y. and Zepf, M. and Borghesi, M. (2012) Ion acceleration in multispecies targets driven by intense laser radiation pressure. Physical Review Letters, 109 (18). 185006. ISSN 0031-9007

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Abstract

The acceleration of ions from ultrathin foils has been investigated by using 250 TW, subpicosecond laser pulses, focused to intensities of up to 3 X 10(20) W cm(-2). The ion spectra show the appearance of narrow-band features for protons and carbon ions peaked at higher energies (in the 5-10 MeV/nucleon range) and with significantly higher flux than previously reported. The spectral features and their scaling with laser and target parameters provide evidence of a multispecies scenario of radiation pressure acceleration in the light sail mode, as confirmed by analytical estimates and 2D particle-in-cell simulations. The scaling indicates that monoenergetic peaks with more than 100 MeV/nucleon are obtainable with moderate improvements of the target and laser characteristics, which are within reach of ongoing technical developments.