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    Rights statement: Copyright 2016 American Institute of Physics. The following article appeared in Physics of Plasmas, 23, 2016 and may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4953546 This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics.

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Generation of heavy ion beams using femtosecond laser pulses in the target normal sheath acceleration and radiation pressure acceleration regimes

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Article number063108
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>06/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Physics of Plasmas
Issue number6
Volume23
Number of pages9
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date10/06/16
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Theoretical study of heavy ion acceleration from sub-micron gold foils irradiated by a short pulse laser is presented. Using two dimensional particle-in-cell simulations, the time history of the laser pulse is examined in order to get insight into the laser energy deposition and ion acceleration process. For laser pulses with intensity 3 x 10(21) W/cm(2), duration 32 fs, focal spot size 5 mu m, and energy 27 J, the calculated reflection, transmission, and coupling coefficients from a 20 nm foil are 80%, 5%, and 15%, respectively. The conversion efficiency into gold ions is 8%. Two highly collimated counter-propagating ion beams have been identified. The forward accelerated gold ions have average and maximum charge-to-mass ratio of 0.25 and 0.3, respectively, maximum normalized energy 25MeV/nucleon, and flux 2 x 10(11) ions/sr. An analytical model was used to determine a range of foil thicknesses suitable for acceleration of gold ions in the radiation pressure acceleration regime and the onset of the target normal sheath acceleration regime. The numerical simulations and analytical model point to at least four technical challenges hindering the heavy ion acceleration: low charge-to-mass ratio, limited number of ions amenable to acceleration, delayed acceleration, and high reflectivity of the plasma. Finally, a regime suitable for heavy ion acceleration has been identified in an alternative approach by analyzing the energy absorption and distribution among participating species and scaling of conversion efficiency, maximum energy, and flux with laser intensity. Published by AIP Publishing.

Bibliographic note

Copyright 2016 American Institute of Physics. The following article appeared in Physics of Plasmas, 23, 2016 and may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4953546 This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics.