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Using the example of the PHELIX high-energy short pulse laser we discuss the technical preconditions to investigate ion acceleration with submicrometer thick targets. We show how the temporal contrast of this system was improved to prevent pre-ionization of such targets on the nanosecond timescale. Furthermore the influence of typical fluctuations or uncertainties of the on-target intensity on ion acceleration experiments is discussed. We report how these uncertainties were reduced by improving the assessment and control of the on-shot intensity and by optimizing the positioning of the target into the focal plane. Finally we report on experimental results showing maximum proton energies in excess of 85 MeV for ion acceleration via the target normal sheath acceleration mechanism using target thicknesses on the order of one micrometer.
High-intensity laser–solid interactions generate relativistic electrons, as well as high-energy (multi-MeV) ions and x-rays. The directionality, spectra and total number of electrons that escape a target-foil is dependent on the absorption, transport and rear-side sheath conditions. Measuring the electrons escaping the target will aid in improving our understanding of these absorption processes and the rear-surface sheath fields that retard the escaping electrons and accelerate ions via the target normal sheath acceleration (TNSA) mechanism. A comprehensive Geant4 study was performed to help analyse measurements made with a wrap-around diagnostic that surrounds the target and uses differential filtering with a FUJI-film image plate detector. The contribution of secondary sources such as x-rays and protons to the measured signal have been taken into account to aid in the retrieval of the electron signal. Angular and spectral data from a high-intensity laser–solid interaction are presented and accompanied by simulations. The total number of emitted electrons has been measured as
with an estimated total energy of
Cu target with 140 J of incident laser energy during a
Intense and stable laser operation with Ni-like Zr and Ag was
demonstrated at pump energies between 2 J and 5 J energy from the PHELIX
pre-amplifier section. A novel single mirror focusing scheme for the TCE
x-ray laser (XRL) has been successfully implemented by the
LIXAM/MBI/GSI collaboration under different pump geometries. This
shows potential for an extension to shorter XRL wavelength. Generation of
high quality XRL beams for XRL spectroscopy of highly charged ions is an
important issue within the scientific program of PHELIX. Long range
perspective is the study of nuclear properties of radioactive isotopes
within the FAIR project.
This paper reports on the status of the PHELIX petawatt laser which is
built at the Gesellschaft fuer Schwerionenforschung (GSI) in close
collaboration with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), and
the Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique (CEA) in France. First
experiments carried out with the chirped pulse amplification (CPA)
front-end will also be briefly reviewed.
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