Multi-Mev proton beams generated by target normal sheath acceleration (TNSA) during the interaction of an ultra intense laser beam (Ia parts per thousand yen10(19) W/cm(2)) with a thin metallic foil (thickness of the order of a few tens of microns) are particularly suited as a particle probe for laser plasma experiments. The proton imaging technique employs a laser-driven proton beam in a point-projection imaging scheme as a diagnostic tool for the detection of electric fields in such experiments. The proton probing technique has been applied in experiments of relevance to inertial confinement fusion (ICF) such as laser heated gasbags and laser-hohlraum experiments. The data provides direct information on the onset of laser beam filamentation and on the plasma expansion in the hohlraum's interior, and confirms the suitability and usefulness of this technique as an ICF diagnostic.
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics