Radiation-Pressure Acceleration of Ion Beams Driven by Circularly Polarized Laser Pulses

A. Henig, S. Steinke, M. Schnürer, T. Sokollik, R. Hörlein, D. Kiefer, D. Jung, J. Schreiber, B. M. Hegelich, X. Q. Yan, J. Meyer-ter-Vehn, T. Tajima, P. V. Nickles, W. Sandner, D. Habs

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We present experimental studies on ion acceleration from ultrathin diamondlike carbon foils irradiated by ultrahigh contrast laser pulses of energy 0.7 J focused to peak intensities of 5×1019  W/cm2. A reduction in electron heating is observed when the laser polarization is changed from linear to circular, leading to a pronounced peak in the fully ionized carbon spectrum at the optimum foil thickness of 5.3 nm. Two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations reveal that those C6+ ions are for the first time dominantly accelerated in a phase-stable way by the laser radiation pressure.
Original languageEnglish
Article number245003
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2009


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