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Proton acceleration from high-contrast short pulse lasers interacting with sub-micron thin foils

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Article number053302
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>7/02/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Applied Physics
Issue number5
Number of pages5
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date4/02/16
<mark>Original language</mark>English


A theoretical study complemented with published experimental data of proton acceleration from sub-micron (thickness <1 mu m) foils irradiated by ultra-high contrast (>10(10)) short pulse lasers is presented. The underlying physics issues pertinent to proton acceleration are addressed using two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. For laser energy epsilon 4 J (I > 5 x 10(20) W/cm(2)), for which the measured maximum proton energies were much lower than predicted by scaling and these simulations. This unexpected behavior could not be explained within the frame of the model, and we conjecture that pre-pulses preceding the main pulse by picoseconds may be responsible. If technological issues can be resolved, energetic proton beams could be generated for a wide range of applications such as nuclear physics, radiography, and medical science.