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Experimental Study of Proton Acceleration with Ultra-High Intensity, High Contrast Laser Beam

Abstract : The production of energetic proton/ion beams with laser pulses at relativistic intensities (I>10^{18}W/cm^2) has received, in the past few years, increasing interest from the scientific community in plasma, optics and accelerator physics. A fraction of electrons is heated to high temperature during the ultrafast interaction between a femtosecond laser pulse and an overdense plasma. Ions and protons are extracted and accelerated by the charge separation set up during the expansion of the plasma. The results presented in this manuscript report on the realization of ion acceleration experiments using a high contrast (XPW) multi-terawatt laser system. Two preparatory experiments are set up, aiming to study the pedestal of a laser pulse interacting with the target. The expansion of a plasma created by a laser at moderate intensity is measured by interferometry; the evolution of the density gradient length is deduced from the electron density maps at different moments. The variation of the absolute reflectivity of a thin aluminium foil is correlated to the electron temperature and is used to monitor the arrival time of the laser produced shock. The crossing between the two experiments is finally used to define the optimum condition for proton acceleration. Proton acceleration experiments with high contrast laser are reported, including the construction and the validation of a real-time, single shot ion spectrometer (Micro-channel Plate and Thomson Parabola), and other details of the realised setup. The obtained results show that the increased contrast enables the use of thinner targets and the production of more stable and controllable interaction conditions. Proton beams with kinetic energy higher than 4 MeV are produced, with a shot-to-shot stability better than 4% rms. Proton acceleration experiment with two laser beams confirms that the laser energy absorption is enhanced when the target is pre-heated by a laser pulse with proper parameters.
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Contributor : Ecole Polytechnique <>
Submitted on : Thursday, January 21, 2010 - 8:00:00 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, July 3, 2019 - 10:48:01 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, September 10, 2010 - 2:49:28 PM


  • HAL Id : pastel-00005616, version 1



Alessandro Flacco. Experimental Study of Proton Acceleration with Ultra-High Intensity, High Contrast Laser Beam. Physique [physics]. Ecole Polytechnique X, 2008. Français. ⟨pastel-00005616⟩



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