Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

GeV laser ion acceleration from ultrathin targets: The laser break-out afterburner

  • L. YIN (a1), B. J. ALBRIGHT (a1), B. M. HEGELICH (a1) and J. C. FERNÁNDEZ (a1)

A new laser-driven ion acceleration mechanism has been identified using particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations. This mechanism allows ion acceleration to GeV energies at vastly reduced laser intensities compared with earlier acceleration schemes. The new mechanism, dubbed “Laser Break-out Afterburner” (BOA), enables the acceleration of carbon ions to greater than 2 GeV energy at a laser intensity of only 1021 W/cm2, an intensity that has been realized in existing laser systems. Other techniques for achieving these energies in the literature rely upon intensities of 1024 W/cm2 or above, i.e., 2–3 orders of magnitude higher than any laser intensity that has been demonstrated to date. Also, the BOA mechanism attains higher energy and efficiency than target normal sheath acceleration (TNSA), where the scaling laws predict carbon energies of 50 MeV/u for identical laser conditions. In the early stages of the BOA, the carbon ions accelerate as a quasi-monoenergetic bunch with median energy higher than that realized recently experimentally.

Corresponding author
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: B. M. Hegelich, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545. E-mail:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Borghesi, M., Audebert, P., Bulanov, S.V., Cowan, T., Fuchs, J., Gauthier, J.C., MacKinnon, A.J., Patel, P.K., Pretzler, G., Romagnani, L., Schiavi, A., Toncian, T. & Willi, O. (2005). High-intensity laser-plasma interaction studies employing laser-driven proton probes. Laser Part. Beams23, 291295.

Chen, H. & Wilks, S.C. (2005). Evidence of enhanced effective hot electron temperatures in ultraintense laser-solid interactions due to reflexing. Laser Part. Beams23, 411416.

Chirila, C.C., Joachain, C.J., Kylstra, N.J. & Potvliege, R.M. (2004). Interaction of ultra-intense laser pulses with relativistic ions. Laser Part. Beams 22, 203206.

Esirkepov, T., Borghesi, M., Bulanov, S.V., Mourou, G. & Tajima, T. (2004). Highly efficient relativistic-ion generation in the laser-piston regime. Phys. Rev. Lett. 92, 175003/14.

Fernández, J.C., Hegelich, B.M., Cobble, J.A., Flippo, K.A., Letzring, S.A., Johnson, R.P., Gautier, D.C., Shimada, T., Kyrala, G.A., Wang, Y.Q., Wetteland, C.J. & Schreiber, J. (2005). Laser-ablation treatment of short-pulse laser targets: Toward an experimental program on energetic-ion interactions with dense plasmas. Laser Part. Beams23, 267273.

Fuchs, J., Antici, P., D'Humiéres, E., Lefebvre, E., Borghesi, M. Brambrink, E. Cecchetti, C.A. Kaluza, M. Malka, V. Manclossi, M. Meyroneinc, S. Mora, P. Schreiber, J. Toncian, T., Pépin, H., &Audebert, P. (2006b). Laser-driven proton scaling laws and new paths towards energy increase. Nat. Phys.2, 4854.

Habs, D., Pretzler, G., Pukhov, A. & Meyer-Ter-Vehn, J. (2001). Laser acceleration of electrons and ions and intense secondary particle generation. Proc. Part. Nucl. Phys.46, 375377.

Hartmann, G.H., Jakel, O., Heeg, P., Karger, C.P. & Kriessbach, A. (1999). Determination of water absorbed dose in a carbon ion beam using thimble ionization chambers. Phys. Med. Bio.44, 11931206.

Hatchett, Stephen P., Brown, Curtis G., Cowan, Thomas E., Henry, Eugene A., Johnson, Joy S., Key, Michael H., Koch, Jeffrey A., Langdon, A. Bruce, Lasinski, Barbara F., Lee, Richard W., Mackinnon, Andrew J., Pennington, Deanna M., Perry, Michael D., Phillips, Thomas W., Roth, Markus, Sangster, T. Craig, Singh, Mike S., Snavely, Richard A., Stoyer, Mark A., Wilks, Scott C. & Yasuike, Kazuhito (2000). Electron, photon, and ion beams from the relativistic interaction of Petawatt laser pulses with solid targets. Phys. Plasmas7, 20762082.

Hegelich, B.M., Albright, B., Audebert, P., Blazevic, A., Brambrink, E., Cobble, J., Cowan, T., Fuchs, J., Gauthier, J.C., Gautier, C., Geissel, M., Habs, D., Johnson, R., Karsch, S., Kemp, A., Letzring, S., Roth, M., Schramm, U., Schreiber, J., Witte, K.J. & Fernández, J.C. (2005). Spectral properties of laser-accelerated mid-Z MeV/u ion beams. Phys. Plasmas12, 056314/15.

Hegelich, M., Karsch, S., Pretzler, G., Habs, D., Witte, K., Guenther, W., Allen, M., Blazevic, A., Fuchs, J., Gauthier, J.C., Geissel, M., Audebert, P., Cowan, T. & Roth, M. (2002). MeV ion jets from short-pulse-laser interaction with thin foils. Phys. Rev. Lett. 89, 085002/14.

Hegelich, B.M., Albright, B.J., Cobble, J., Johnson, R., Letzring, S., Ruhl, H., Schreiber, J. & Fernández, J.C. (2006). Laser acceleration of quasi-monoenergetic MeV ion beams. Nature439, 441444.

Honrubia, J. & Tikhonchuk, V. (2004). Guest editors' preface: Workshop on simulations of ultra intense laser beams interaction with matter. Laser Part. Beams22, 95.

Maksimchuk, A., Gu, S., Flippo, K., Umstadter, D. & Bychenkov, V.Y. (2000). Forward ion acceleration in thin films driven by a high-intensity laser. Phys. Rev. Lett.84, 41084111.

Mason, R.J., Dodd, E.S. & Albright, B.J. (2005). Hot-electron surface retention in intense short-pulse laser-matter interactions. Phys. Rev. E72, 015401(R)/14.

Passoni, M & Lontano, M. (2004). One-dimensional model of the electrostatic ion acceleration in the ultraintense laser-solid interaction. Laser Part. Beams22, 163169.

Passoni, M., Tikhonchuk, V.T., Lontano, M. & Bychenkov, V.Y. (2004). Charge separation effects in solid targets and ion acceleration with a two-temperature electron distribution. Phys. Rev. E69, 026411/111.

Roth, M., Brambrink, E., Audebert, P., Blazevic, A., Clarke, R., Cobble, J., Cowan, T.E., Fernández, J., Fuchs, J., Geissel, M., Habs, D., Hegelich, M., Karsch, S., Ledingham, K., Neely, D., Ruhl, H., Schlegel, T. & Schreiber, J. (2005). Laser accelerated ions and electron transport in ultra-intense laser matter interaction. Laser Part. Beams23, 95100.

Snavely, R.A., Key, M.H., Hatchett, S.P., Cowan, T.E., Roth, M., Phillips, T.W., Stoyer, M.A., Henry, E.A., Sangster, T.C., Singh, M.S., Wilks, S.C., MacKinnon, A., Offenberger, A., Pennington, D.M., Yasuike, K., Langdon, A.B., Lasinski, B.F., Johnson, J., Perry, M.D. & Campbell, E.M. (2000). Intense high-energy proton beams from petawatt-laser irradiation of solids. Phys. Rev. Lett.85, 29452948.

Temporal, M., Honrubia, J.J. & Atzeni, S. (2002). Numerical study of fast ignition of ablatively imploded deuterium-tritium fusion capsules by ultra-intense proton beams. Phys. Plasmas9, 30983107.

Wilks, S.C., Langdon, A.B., Cowan, T.E., Roth, M., Singh, M., Hatchett, S., Key, M.H., Pennington, D., MacKinnon, A. & Snavely, R.A. (2001). Energetic proton generation in ultra-intense laser-solid interactions. Phys. Plasmas8, 542549.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Laser and Particle Beams
  • ISSN: 0263-0346
  • EISSN: 1469-803X
  • URL: /core/journals/laser-and-particle-beams
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *