The interaction of an ultraintense laser pulse with a conical target is studied by means of numerical particle-in-cell simulations in the context of fast ignition. The divergence of the fast electron beam generated at the tip of the cone has been shown to be a crucial parameter for the efficient coupling of the ignition laser pulse to the precompressed fusion pellet. In this paper, we demonstrate that a focused hot electron beam is produced at the cone tip, provided that electron currents flowing along the surfaces of the cone sidewalls are efficiently generated. The influence of various interaction parameters over the formation of these wall currents is investigated. It is found that the strength of the electron flows is enhanced for high laser intensities, low density targets, and steep density gradients inside the cone. The hot electron energy distribution obeys a power law for energies of up to a few MeV, with the addition of a high-energy Maxwellian tail.
Bibliographical noteThis work was supported in the framework of the HiPER project. We are grateful for the use of computing resources provided by STFCs e-Science facility and HPC resources from GENCI-CINES (Grant No. 2010-56129).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics