Laser driven ion acceleration from ultra thin foils in the ultra relativistic intensity regime

Prasad, R. and Ter-Avetisyan, S. and Doria, D. and Quinn, K. E. and Romagnani, L. and Foster, P. S. and Brenner, C. M. and Green, J. S. and Robinson, A.P.L. and Gallegos, P. and Streeter, M. J.V. and Carroll, D.C. and Tresca, O. and Dover, N. and Palmer, C. A.J. and Schreiber, J. and Neely, D. and Najmudin, Z. and McKenna, P. and Zepf, M. and Borghesi, M.; (2011) Laser driven ion acceleration from ultra thin foils in the ultra relativistic intensity regime. In: 38th EPS Conference on Plasma Physics 2011, EPS 2011 - Europhysics Conference Abstracts. European Physical Society (EPS), FRA. ISBN 2914771681

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The measurements reported here provide scaling laws for the acceleration process in the ultra-short regime and access ion acceleration conditions never investigated before. The scaling of accelerated ion energies was studied by varying a number of parameters such as target thickness (down to 10 nm), target material (C and Al) and laser light polarization (circular and linear) at normal laser incidence. A pronounced increase in the C6+ ion energy up to ~238 MeV has been observed for ultrathin (10-100 nm) carbon targets. Furthermore, it is seen that measured peak proton energies of about 20 MeV are observed almost independently from the target thickness over a wide range (10 nm-10 µm), and the target material (insulator and conductor) and laser polarisation doesn’t play a significant role on the maximum proton energy for target thicknesses < 50 nm. The results can be explained by the specific electron dynamics at ultra-high contrast and ultra-intense laser target irradiation. 2D PIC simulations are in good agreement with the experimental findings.