The dynamics of the plasma critical density surface in an ultra-thin foil target irradiated by an ultra-intense (~6 × 1020 Wcm-2) laser pulse is investigated experimentally and via 2D particle-in-cell simulations. Changes to the surface motion are diagnosed as a function of foil thickness. The experimental and numerical results are compared with hole-boring and light-sail models of radiation pressure acceleration, to identify the foil thickness range for which each model accounts for the measured surface motion. Both the experimental and numerical results show that the onset of relativistic self-induced transparency, in the thinnest targets investigated, limits the velocity of the critical surface, and thus the effectiveness of radiation pressure acceleration.
- Laser-driven ion acceleration
- Relativistic laser-plasma interactions
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Process Chemistry and Technology
- Computer Science Applications
- Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes