Ion acceleration by femtosecond laser pulses in small multispecies targets

Psikal, J.; Tikhonchuk, V. T.; Limpouch, J.; Andreev, A. A.; Brantov, A. V.
May 2008
Physics of Plasmas;May2008, Vol. 15 Issue 5, p053102
Academic Journal
Ion acceleration by ultrashort intense femtosecond laser pulses (∼4×1019 W/cm2, ∼30 fs) in small targets of uniform chemical composition of two ion species (protons and carbon C4+ ions) is studied theoretically via a particle-in-cell code with two spatial and three velocity components. Energy spectra of accelerated ions, the number and divergence of fast protons, are compared for various target shapes (cylinder, flat foil, curved foil) and density profiles. Dips and peaks are observed in proton energy spectra due to mutual interaction between two ion species. The simulations demonstrate that maximum energy of fast protons depends on the efficiency of laser absorption and the cross section of the hot electron cloud behind the target. A rear-side plasma density ramp can substantially decrease the energy of fast ions and simultaneously enhance their number. These results are compared with analytical estimates and with previously published experiments.


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