Energy scaling of laser accelerated protons and proton emission from reduced mass targets

Energy scaling of laser accelerated protons and proton emission from reduced mass targets

Metzkes, J.; Zeil, K.; Kraft, S. D.; Bock, S.; Bussmann, M.; Helbig, U.; Karsch, L.; Kluge, T.; Pawelke, J.; Richter, C.; Cowan, T. E.; Sauerbrey, R.; Schramm, U.

In the last years, high power laser systems in the 100 TW range with ultrashort pulses (~30 fs) and repetition rates of up to 10 Hz have come into operation. In order to investigate the laser proton acceleration in this laser regime we have performed a series of experiments using plain few-micron-thick metal targets and mass-limited silicon targets. The targets were irradiated with 30 fs pulses from the new 150 TW DRACO Laser facility at the Forschungszentrum Dresden-Rossendorf which show a contrast level of 10-10 in the picosecond and 10-9 up to 10-10 in the nanosecond range.
For both target types, proton spectra have been measured with a magnetic spectrometer and radiochromic film stacks. In addition, two magnetic electron spectrometers at different angles have yielded information on the electrons emitted from the non-irradiated target rear side.
Using plain metal foil targets, we have observed a linear scaling of the maximum proton energy with laser power and could show that this behaviour is explained consistently by Schreiber’s analytical scaling model [1] in the limiting case of ultrashort laser pulses [2]. Despite the high laser contrast we have found that a slight deformation of the target rear side results in a predictable deflection of the emission of energetic protons away from the target normal direction [2].
The mass limited targets tested in the experiment were micromachined silicon foils with lateral sizes of 20x20 µm2 to 100x100 µm2 mounted on tiny stalks. Their thickness of 2 μm corresponded to the optimum target thickness for proton acceleration at DRACO. Depending on the size of the targets strong influences of the stalks as well as the target edges were found which could both increase or decrease the maximum proton energy in comparison to a plain foil.

[1] J. Schreiber et al., PRL 97, 045005 (2006)
[2] K. Zeil et al., NJP 12, 045015 (2010)

  • Poster
    31st European Conference on Laser Interaction with Matter, ECLIM 2010, 06.-10.09.2010, Budapest, Ungarn

Publ.-Id: 14572