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Surface waves and electron acceleration from high-power, kilojoule-class laser interactions with underdense plasma

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  • L. Willingale
  • A. G. R. Thomas
  • P. M. Nilson
  • H. Chen
  • J. Cobble
  • R. S. Craxton
  • A. Maksimchuk
  • P. A. Norreys
  • T. C. Sangster
  • R. H. H. Scott
  • C. Stoeckl
  • C. Zulick
  • K. Krushelnick
Article number025023
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>18/02/2013
<mark>Journal</mark>New Journal of Physics
Number of pages14
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Experiments were performed on the Omega EP laser facility to study laser pulse propagation, channeling phenomena and electron acceleration from high-intensity, high-power laser interactions with underdense plasma. A CH plasma plume was used as the underdense target and the interaction of the laser pulse channeling through the plasma was imaged using proton radiography. High-energy electron spectra were measured for different experimental laser parameters. Structures observed along the channel walls are interpreted as having developed from surface waves, which are likely to serve as an injection mechanism of electrons into the cavitated channel for acceleration via direct laser acceleration mechanisms. Two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations give good agreement with these channeling and electron acceleration phenomena.