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Ion acceleration with ultrafast laser driven water droplets

  • M. SCHNÜRER (a1), S. TER-AVETISYAN (a1), S. BUSCH (a1), E. RISSE (a1), M.P. KALACHNIKOV (a1), W. SANDNER (a1) and P.V. NICKLES (a1)...


Small water droplets (20 micron in diameter) have been exposed to intense (∼ 1019 W/cm2) laser pulses in order to study ultrashort (∼ 35 fs) laser pulse driven ion acceleration. Ion emission spectra registered simultaneously in forward and backward direction in respect to the incident laser beam carry similar integral ion energy but show different ion cutoff energies. With simple model estimations on basis of the confined and spherical geometry of the droplet-target, we inferred acceleration field strengths of about (0.7–2) MV/μm. Up to 9% of the incident laser energy is converted to kinetic energy of ions, which have been accelerated to energies above 100 keV and up to 1.5 MeV. A laser pedestal at an intensity of about 10−7 of the peak intensity at 1–2 ns in front of the pulse peak still limits the achievable cutoff energies of emitted protons from the droplet. The observed increase of cutoff energies with an enhanced temporal contrast of the laser pulse is elucidated within a simple acceleration model.


Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Dr. Ter-Avetisyan Sargis, Max-Born-Institut, Max-Born-Str. 2a, D12489 Berlin. E-mail:


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This paper was presented at the 28th ECLIM conference in Rome, Italy.



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