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Demonstration of matching a laser ion source to the GSI RFQ-Maxilac linear accelerator and the acceleration of a 1.8-mA current beam of Ta10+ ions up to 45 keV/u energy is presented. A 10J/μs CO2 laser has been used to produce a hot plasma plume, emitting highly charged tantulum ions. The correct geometry and potential distribution of the matching section has been designed in accordance with the results of computer simulations by using the AXCEL code. Measurements of the charge state distribution of the accelerated beam indicate that it contains about 70% Ta10+ and 30% Ta11+ ions.
Results are presented of experiments on ion production from Ta targets using a short pulse (350–600 ps in focus) illumination with focal power densities exceeding 1014 Wcm-2 at the wavelength of an iodine photodissociation laser (1.315 μm) and its harmonics. Strong evidence of the existence of tantalum ions with the charge state +45 near the target surface was obtained by X-ray spectroscopy methods. The particle diagnostics point to the existence of frozen high charge states (<53+) of Ta ions in the far expansion zone at about 2 m from the target. The measured charge state-ion energy distribution indicates the highest energy (>4 MeV) for the highest observed charge states. A tentative theoretical explanation of the observed anomalous charge state freezing phenomenon in the expanding plasma produced by a subnanosecond laser pulse is given.
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