Characterization of multiterawatt laser-solid interactions for proton acceleration

McKenna, P. et al. (2002) Characterization of multiterawatt laser-solid interactions for proton acceleration. Review of Scientific Instruments, 73(12), 4176 -4184. (doi: 10.1063/1.1516855)

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A comprehensive characterization of experimental parameters in a study of proton acceleration by short-pulse laser-solid interactions at intensities up to 10(19) W cm(-2) is reported. Laser pulse and prepulse conditions were measured, with a contrast ratio of the order of 10(-6) obtained. The focused laser intensity was experimentally calibrated using a time-of- flight spectrometer to resolve the stages of ionization of a target gas. By comparing the measured ion yields with predictions of an atomic tunneling ionization model a factor of 1.5 uncertainty in the focused intensity was determined. Drive mechanisms for mounting solid targets with thickness in the range of 0.2 to 125 mum have been developed for use with high- repetition rate lasers. A retro-focus imaging system has also been implemented to position the target relative to the laser focus. The techniques have been applied to study proton acceleration as a function of various laser and target parameters. Measurements of the energy distribution of protons as a function of laser intensity are presented for both mylar and Al targets. A maximum proton energy of 1.5 MeV was observed. A compilation of recent results from a number of laser systems on the conversion efficiency of laser energy to protons is discussed. By comparison, an efficiency of about 0.7% for the present study is encouraging for future tabletop- laser-based ion acceleration.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Singhal, Dr Ravi and Ledingham, Professor Kenneth
Authors: McKenna, P., Ledingham, K.W.D., Spencer, I., McCany, T., Singhal, R.P., Ziener, C., Foster, P.S., Divall, E.J., Hooker, C.J., Neely, D., Langley, A.J., Clarke, R.J., Norreys, P.A., Krushelnick, K., and Clark, E.L.
Subjects:Q Science > QC Physics
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:Review of Scientific Instruments

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