X-ray spectra of plasma produced by the interaction of Ti:Sa laser pulses (duration from 60 fs to 1 ps, and energy from 15 mJ to 128 mJ) with foil and solid Teflon and AL targets are investigated. It is shown experimentally and theoretically that the use of low contrast (10−2 – 10−4) short laser pulses, essentially promotes the conditions for generation of fast multi-charged ions. This effect is caused by self-focusing of the main laser pulse in a preplasma produced by intense laser prepulses. Modeling of the observed spectral line shape gives evidence of a considerable (about 3%) amount of multi-charged He-like F ions with energy E ∼ 1 MeV at rather low values of laser intensity IL ≈ 6 × 1016 W cm−2.
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