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We investigate the influence of the initial size of the proton layer on proton acceleration in the interaction of high intensity laser pulses with double-layer targets by using two-dimensional particle-in-cell code. We discuss the influence of proton layer initial sizes on the cut-off energy, energy spread, and divergence angle of proton beam. It is found that Coulomb explosion plays an important role on the proton cut-off energy. This causes the cut-off energy to increase for increasing proton layer thickness, at the expense of energy spread. The proton divergence angle reaches a peak value and then falls again with increasing the width. Proton divergence angle grows with target thickness. It is found that there is an optimal thickness to obtain the narrowest energy spread, which may provide an effective method (change the size of proton layer) to obtain high quality proton beams. This work may serve to improve the understanding of sheath field proton acceleration.
The laser-driven acceleration of proton beams from a double-layer cone target, comprised of a cone shaped high-Z material target with a low density proton layer, is investigated via two-dimensional fully relativistic electro-magnetic particle-in-cell simulations. The dependence of the inside diameter (ID) of the tip size of a double-layer cone target on proton beam characteristics is demonstrated. Our results show that the peak energy of proton beams significantly increases and the divergence angle decreases with decreasing ID size. This can be explained by the combined effects of a stronger laser field that is focused inside the cone target and a larger laser interaction area by reducing the ID size.
An advanced cone-nanolayer target with nanolayers on both inside and outside of the hollow-cone tip is proposed. Two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations show that laser interaction with such cone-nanolayer targets can efficiently produce fast electron beams with manageable spotsize, and the beams can propagate for a relatively long distance in the vacuum beyond the cone tip.
Laser plasma experiments, which demonstrated the single order diffraction property of spectroscopic photon sieve (a novel single-order diffraction grating), were performed on the SILEX-I femto-second laser facility. High-intensity laser radiation was focused onto a Cu target to generate plasma. The spectra of soft X-ray from copper plasmas have been measured with spectroscopic photon sieve based spectrograph. The results show that the spectroscopic photon sieve is able to provide soft X-ray spectrum free from higher-order diffraction components. The measured spectra obtained with such a spectroscopic photon sieve need no unfolding process to extract higher-order diffraction interference.
In order to improve the total laser-proton energy conversion efficiency, a nanobrush target is proposed for proton acceleration and investigated by two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulation. The simulation results show that the nanobrush target significantly enhances the energy and number of hot electrons through the target rear side. Compared with plain target, the sheath field on the rear surface is increased near 100% and the total laser-proton energy conversion efficiency is prompted more than 70%. Furthermore, the proton divergence angle is less than 30° by using nanobrush target. The proposed target may serve as a new method to increase the energy conversion efficiency from laser to protons.
A scheme capable of enhancing the energy of monoenergetic protons in high intensity laser-plasma interactions is proposed and demonstrated by two dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. The focusing of laser light pulse and the guiding of surface current via the high Z material cone-shaped substrate increase the temperature of hot electrons, which are responsible for the electrostatic field accelerating protons. Moreover, the sub-micron proton layer coated on the cone-shaped substrate makes the total proton beam experience the same accelerating field, thus the monochromaticity is maintained. Compared to the normal film double layer target, the energy of monoenergetic proton beams can be improved about three times.
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