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 journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)
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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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    Gonzalez-Izquierdo, B., King, M., Gray, R. J., Wilson, R., Dance, R. J., Powell, H., MacLellan, D. A., McCreadie, J., Butler, N. M. H., Hawkes, S., Green, J. S., Murphy, C. D., Stockhausen, L. C., Carroll, D. C., Booth, N., Scott, G. G., Borghesi, M., Neely, D., & McKenna, P. (2016). Towards optical polarization control of laser-driven proton acceleration in foils undergoing relativistic transparency. Nature Communications, 7, [12891]. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms12891