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We report on the design and characterization of the plasma mirror system installed on the J-KAREN-P laser at the Kansai Photon Science Institute, National Institutes for Quantum Science and Technology. The reflectivity of the single plasma mirror system exceeded 80%. In addition, the temporal contrast was improved by two orders of magnitude at 1 ps before the main pulse. Furthermore, the laser near-field spatial distribution after the plasma mirror was kept constant at plasma mirror fluence of less than 100 kJ/cm2. We also present the results of investigating the difference and the fluctuation in energy, pulse width and pointing stability with and without the plasma mirror system.
We have experimentally improved the temporal contrast of the petawatt J-KAREN-P laser facility. We have investigated how the generation of pre-pulses by post-pulses changes due to the temporal overlap between the stretched pulse and the post-pulse in a chirped-pulse amplification system. We have shown that the time at which the pre-pulse is generated by the post-pulse and its shape are related to the time difference between the stretched main pulse and the post-pulse. With this investigation, we have found and identified the origins of the pre-pulses and have demonstrated the removal of most pre-pulses by eliminating the post-pulse with wedged optics. We have also demonstrated the impact of stretcher optics on the picosecond pedestal. We have realized orders of magnitude enhancement of the pedestal by improving the optical quality of a key component in the stretcher.
We characterize the electron density distributions of preformed plasma for laser-accelerated proton generation. The preformed plasma of a titanium target 3 μm thick is generated by prepulse and amplified spontaneous emission (ASE) of a high-intensity Ti:sapphire laser and is measured with an interferometer using a second harmonic probe beam. High-energy protons are obtained by reducing the size of the preformed plasma by changing the ASE duration before main pulse at the front side (laser incidence side) of the target. Simulation results with two-dimensional radiation hydrodynamic code are close to the experimental results for low-density region ~4 × 1019 cm−3 at the front side. In the high-density region near to the target surface, the interferometry underestimates the density due to the substantial refraction. The characterization of hydrodynamic expansion with the interferometer and simulation is a useful tool for investigation of high-energy proton generation.
We observed a preformed plasma of an aluminum slab target produced by a high-intensity Ti:sapphire laser. The expansion length of the preformed plasma at the electron density of 3 × 1018 cm−3, which was the detection limit, was around 100 μm measured with a laser interferometer. In order to characterize quantitatively and to control the preformed plasmas, we perform a two-dimensional hydrodynamic simulation. The expansion length of the preformed plasma was almost the same as the experimental result, if we assumed that the amplified spontaneous emission lasted 3.5 ns before the main pulse arrived.
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