Publications Repository - Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf

1 Publication
Laser-Driven Proton Acceleration: Experimental Observation of Spatially Modulated Proton Beams & Diagnostics of the Plasma Formation Dynamics
Metzkes, J.; Kluge, T.; Zeil, K.; Bussmann, M.; Kraft, S. D.; Rehwald, M.; Cowan, T. E.; Schramm, U.;
Large effort is currently put into translating laser-driven particle sources from the status of experimental machines to accelerators ready for applications. The program at HZDR thereby focuses on laser-ion accelerators for medical applications [1]. Besides qualifying laser-accelerators for stable and reliable acceleration, the main challenge is the achievement of sufficient (~ 200 MeV for protons) particle energies. Fs-PW laser systems, going into operation in different laboratories worldwide now, might provide the necessary laser powers [2]. Hence, careful testing of the laser power scaling of the established acceleration mechanisms (e.g. TNSA) is needed, considering not only the achievable particle energies but properties as the spatial/angular distribution of particles (beam profile) as well.
In that context, we report on the experimental observation of spatially modulated proton beams emitted from micrometer thick targets which were irradiated with ultrashort (30 fs) laser pulses of a peak intensity of 5•1020W/cm2. The net-like proton beam modulations were recorded using radiochromic film and the investigation of different target systems for a laser energy range of 0.9 to 2.9 J revealed a clear dependence on laser energy and target thickness for the onset and strength of the modulations. Numerical simulations performed suggest filamentary instabilities, such as the parametric two plasmon decay and a Weibel-like instability, which occur in the laser-produced target front side plasma, as the source of the observed proton beam modulations [3].
The study is supported by pump-probe experiments of the plasma dynamics at the target front and rear surface. The method allows to connect the typical third-order autocorrelation traces [4] of the temporal pulse intensity contrast with the on-targets plasma conditions at pulse peak arrival. In that way, numerical simulations, necessary to investigate phenomena as plasma instabilities, can be matched to the real target plasma conditions more precisely.
We propose that the presented results on laser energy dependent plasma instabilities may have implications for the scaling of present acceleration mechanisms, such as target normal sheath acceleration, to higher proton energies and hence higher laser powers.
  • Lecture (Conference)
    Laser Plasma Acceleration Workshop, 10.-15.05.2015, Fort Royal, Guadeloupe

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Publ.-Id: 22821 - Permalink