Focusing of intense subpicosecond laser pulses in wedge targets

Levy, M. C.; Kemp, A. J.; Wilks, S. C.; Divol, L.; Baring, M. G.
October 2011
Physics of Plasmas;Oct2011, Vol. 18 Issue 10, p103110
Academic Journal
Two dimensional particle-in-cell simulations characterizing the interaction of ultraintense short pulse lasers in the range 1018 ≤ I ≤ 1020 W/cm2 with converging target geometries are presented. Seeking to examine intensity amplification in high-power laser systems, where focal spots are typically non-diffraction limited, we describe key dynamical features as the injected laser intensity and convergence angle of the target are systematically varied. We find that laser pulses are focused down to a wavelength with the peak intensity amplified by an order of magnitude beyond its vacuum value and develop a simple model for how the peak location moves back towards the injection plane over time. This performance is sustained over hundreds of femtoseconds and scales to laser intensities beyond 1020 W/cm2 at 1 μm wavelength.


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