In this study, ion acceleration from thin planar target foils irradiated by ultrahigh-contrast (10(10)), ultrashort (50 fs) laser pulses focused to intensities of 7 x 10(20) W cm(-2) is investigated experimentally. Target normal sheath acceleration (TNSA) is found to be the dominant ion acceleration mechanism when the target thickness is >= 50 nm and laser pulses are linearly polarized. Under these conditions, irradiation at normal incidence is found to produce higher energy ions than oblique incidence at 35 degrees with respect to the target normal. Simulations using one-dimensional (1D) boosted and 2D particle-in-cell codes support the result, showing increased energy coupling efficiency to fast electrons for normal incidence. The effects of target composition and thickness on the acceleration of carbon ions are reported and compared to calculations using analytical models of ion acceleration.
- Physics and Astronomy(all)