Effects of front surface plasma expansion on proton acceleration in ultraintense laser irradiation of foil targets

P. McKenna, D.C. Carroll, O. Lundh, F. Nurnberg, K. Markey, S. Bandyopadhyay, D. Batani, R.G. Evans, R. Jafer, S. Kar, D. Neely, D. Pepler, M.N. Quinn, R. Redaelli, M. Roth, C.G. Wahlström, X.H. Yuan, M. Zepf

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The properties of beams of high energy protons accelerated during ultraintense, picosecond laser-irradiation of thin foil targets are investigated as a function of preplasma expansion at the target front surface. Significant enhancement in the maximum proton energy and laser-to-proton energy conversion efficiency is observed at optimum preplasma density gradients, due to self-focusing of the incident laser pulse. For very long preplasma expansion, the propagating laser pulse is observed to filament, resulting in highly uniform proton beams, but with reduced flux and maximum energy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-596
Number of pages5
JournalLaser and Particle Beams
Issue number4
Early online date4 Nov 2008
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2008


  • laser-plasma interaction
  • laser-proton acceleration
  • plasma expansion

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