Generation of a quasi-monoergetic proton beam from laser-irradiated sub-micron droplets

S. Ter-Avetisyan, B. Ramakrishna, R. Prasad, M. Borghesi, P. V. Nickles, S. Steinke, M. Schnuerer, K. I. Popov, L. Ramunno, N. V. Zmitrenko, V. Yu. Bychenkov

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Proton bursts with a narrow spectrum at an energy of (2.8 +/- 0.3 MeV) are accelerated from sub-micron water spray droplets irradiated by high-intensity (similar to 5 x 10(19)W/cm(2)), high-contrast (similar to 10(10)), ultra-short (40 fs) laser pulses. The acceleration is preferentially in the laser propagation direction. The explosion dynamics is governed by a residual ps-scale laser pulse pedestal which "mildly" preheats the droplet and changes its density profile before the arrival of the high intensity laser pulse peak. As a result, the energetic electrons extracted from the modified target by the high-intensity part of the laser pulse establish an anisotropic electrostatic field which results in anisotropic Coulomb explosion and proton acceleration predominantly in the forward direction. Hydrodynamic simulations of the target pre-expansion and 3D particle-in-cell simulations of the measured energy and anisotropy of the proton emission have confirmed the proposed acceleration scenario. (C) 2012 American Institute of Physics. []

Original languageEnglish
Article number073112
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages8
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics

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