Towards optical polarization control of laser-driven proton acceleration in foils undergoing relativistic transparency

Bruno Gonzalez-Izquierdo, Martin King, Ross J. Gray, Robbie Wilson, Rachel J. Dance, Haydn Powell, David A. MacLellan, John McCreadie, Nicholas M H Butler, Steve Hawkes, James S. Green, Chris D. Murphy, Luca C. Stockhausen, David C. Carroll, Nicola Booth, Graeme G. Scott, Marco Borghesi, David Neely, Paul McKenna*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)
208 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Control of the collective response of plasma particles to intense laser light is intrinsic to relativistic optics, the development of compact laser-driven particle and radiation sources, as well as investigations of some laboratory astrophysics phenomena. We recently demonstrated that a relativistic plasma aperture produced in an ultra-thin foil at the focus of intense laser radiation can induce diffraction, enabling polarization-based control of the collective motion of plasma electrons. Here we show that under these conditions the electron dynamics are mapped into the beam of protons accelerated via strong charge-separation-induced electrostatic fields. It is demonstrated experimentally and numerically via 3D particle-in-cell simulations that the degree of ellipticity of the laser polarization strongly influences the spatial-intensity distribution of the beam of multi-MeV protons. The influence on both sheath-accelerated and radiation pressure-accelerated protons is investigated. This approach opens up a potential new route to control laser-driven ion sources.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12891
JournalNature Communications
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sep 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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