Publications Repository - Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf

1 Publication

Surpassing TNSA performance in laser proton acceleration in the relativistic transparency regime

Ziegler, T.; Assenbaum, S.; Bernert, C.; Brack, F.-E.; Cowan, T.; Dover, N.; Garten, M.; Gaus, L.; Göthel, I.; Kiriyama, H.; Kluge, T.; Kon, A.; Kraft, S.; Kroll, F.; Metzkes-Ng, J.; Nishuichi, M.; Prencipe, I.; Püschel, T.; Rehwald, M.; Reimold, M.; Schlenvoigt, H.-P.; Umlandt, M. E. P.; Vescovi Pinochet, M. A.; Schramm, U.; Zeil, K.


Exploiting the strong electromagnetic fields that can be supported by a plasma, high-power laser driven compact plasma accelerators enable generation of short, high-intensity pulses of high energy ions with special beam properties. These accelerators promise to expand the portfolio of conventional machines in many application areas. The maturation of laser driven ion accelerators from physics experiments to turn-key sources for these applications will rely on breakthroughs in both, generated beam parameters (kinetic energy, flux), as well as increased scrutiny on reproducibility, robustness and scalability to high repetition rate.
Recent developments at the high-power laser facility DRACO-PW enabled the production of polychromatic proton beams with unprecedented stability [1]. This allowed the first in vivo radiobiological study to be conducted using a laser-driven proton source [2]. Yet, the ability to achieve energies beyond the 100 MeV frontier is essential for many applications and a matter of ongoing research, mainly addressed by exploring advanced acceleration schemes like the relativistically induced transparency regime.
In this talk we report on experimental proton acceleration studies at the onset of relativistic transparency using linearly polarized laser pulses with peak intensities of 6x21 W/cm2 focused on thin, pre-expanded plastic foils. Combined hydrodynamic and 3D particle-in-cell simulations helped to identify the most promising target parameter range matched to the carefully measured prevailing laser contrast conditions. In a nutshell, the ultra-intense femtosecond pulse interaction induces large accelerating gradients and energy gain dominantly arising from significant space charge fields due to electron expulsion from the relativistic transparent target core followed by weaker post-acceleration in diffuse sheath fields at later times. A complex suite of particle and optical diagnostics allowed characterization of spatial and spectral proton beam parameters and the stability of the regime of best acceleration performance, yielding cut-off energies larger than 100 MeV in the best shots.

[1] Ziegler, T. et al. Proton beam quality enhancement by spectral phase control of a PW-class laser system. Sci Rep 11, 7338 (2021)
[2] Kroll, F. et al. Tumour irradiation in mice with a laser-accelerated proton beam. Nat. Phys. 18, 316–322 (2022)

Involved research facilities

  • Draco
  • Invited lecture (Conferences)
    SPIE 2023 Optics + Optoelectronics, 24.-27.04.2023, Prague, Czech Republic


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