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Micron-scale fast electron filaments and recirculation determined from rear-side optical emission in high-intensity laser-solid interactions

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  • C. Bellei
  • S. R. Nagel
  • S. Kar
  • A. Henig
  • S. Kneip
  • C. Palmer
  • A. Saevert
  • D. Carroll
  • B. Dromey
  • J. S. Green
  • K. Markey
  • P. Simpson
  • R. J. Clarke
  • H. Lowe
  • D. Neely
  • C. Spindloe
  • M. Tolley
  • M. C. Kaluza
  • S. P. D. Mangles
  • P. McKenna
  • P. A. Norreys
  • J. Schreiber
  • M. Zepf
  • J. R. Davies
  • K. Krushelnick
  • Z. Najmudin
Article number073016
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>21/07/2010
<mark>Journal</mark>New Journal of Physics
Number of pages12
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The transport of relativistic electrons generated in the interaction of petawatt class lasers with solid targets has been studied through measurements of the second harmonic optical emission from their rear surface. The high degree of polarization of the emission indicates that it is predominantly optical transition radiation (TR). A halo that surrounds the main region of emission is also polarized and is attributed to the effect of electron recirculation. The variation of the polarization state and intensity of radiation with the angle of observation indicates that the emission of TR is highly directional and provides evidence for the presence of mu m-size filaments. A brief discussion on the possible causes of such a fine electron beam structure is given.