The use of schemes involving multiple laser pulses to enhance and control the properties of beams of protons accelerated in ultra-intense laser irradiation of planar foil targets is discussed. Specifically, the schemes include the use of a second laser pulse to produce and control preplasma expansion of the target to enhance energy coupling to the proton beam; the use of a second laser pulse to drive shock deformation of the target to change the direction of the proton beam; and a scheme involving dual high intensity laser pulses to change the properties of the sheath field, with the aim of modifying the proton energy spectrum. An overview of our recent experimental and theoretical results is given. The overall aim of this work is to determine the extent to which the properties of the sheath-accelerated proton beam can be optically controlled, to enable beam delivery at high repetition rates. To cite this article: D.C. Carroll et al., C. R. Physique 10 (2009). (C) 2009 Academie des sciences. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
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