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Optimisation of plasma mirror reflectivity and optical quality using double laser pulses

Scott, G G and Bagnoud, V and Brabetz, C and Clarke, R J and Green, J S and Heathcote, R I and Powell, H W and Zielbauer, B and Arber, T D and McKenna, P and Neely, D (2015) Optimisation of plasma mirror reflectivity and optical quality using double laser pulses. New Journal of Physics. ISSN 1367-2630 (In Press)

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Abstract

We measure a record 962.5 % specularly reflected energy fraction from an interaction with a plasma mirror surface preionised by a controlled prepulse and find that the optical quality is dependent on the inter pulse time delay. Simulations show that the main pulse reflected energy is a strong function of plasma density scale length, which increases with the time delay and reaches a peak reflectivity for a scale length of 0.3 m, which is achieved here for a pulse separation time of 3 ps. It is found that the incident laser quasi near field intensity distribution leads to nonuniformities in this plasma expansion and consequent critical surface position distribution. The plasma mirror optical quality is found to be governed by the resultant perturbations in the critical surface position, which become larger with inter pulse time delay.