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This research work emphasizes the capability of delivering optically shaped targets through the interaction of nanosecond laser pulses with high-density gas-jet profiles, and explores proton acceleration in the near-critical density regime via magnetic vortex acceleration (MVA). Multiple blast waves (BWs) are generated by laser pulses that compress the gas-jet into near-critical steep gradient slabs of a few micrometres thickness. Geometrical alternatives for delivering the laser pulses into the gas target are explored to efficiently control the characteristics of the density profile. The shock front collisions of the generated BWs are computationally studied by 3D magnetohydrodynamic simulations. The efficiency of the proposed target shaping method for MVA is demonstrated for TW-class lasers by a particle-in-cell simulation.
Fusion energy research is delivering impressive new results emerging from different infrastructures and industrial devices evolving rapidly from ideas to proof-of-principle demonstration and aiming at the conceptual design of reactors for the production of electricity. A major milestone has recently been announced in laser fusion by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and is giving new thrust to laser-fusion energy research worldwide. Here we discuss how these circumstances strongly suggest the need for a European intermediate-energy facility dedicated to the physics and technology of laser-fusion ignition, the physics of fusion materials and advanced technologies for high-repetition-rate, high-average-power broadband lasers. We believe that the participation of the broader scientific community and the increased engagement of industry, in partnership with research and academic institutions, make most timely the construction of this infrastructure of extreme scientific attractiveness.
The rapid development of high-intensity laser-generated particle and photon secondary sources has attracted widespread interest during the last 20 years not only due to fundamental science research but also because of the important applications of this developing technology. For instance, the generation of relativistic particle beams, betatron-type coherent X-ray radiation and high harmonic generation have attracted interest from various fields of science and technology owing to their diverse applications in biomedical, material science, energy, space, and security applications. In the field of biomedical applications in particular, laser-driven particle beams as well as laser-driven X-ray sources are a promising field of study. This article looks at the research being performed at the Institute of Plasma Physics and Lasers (IPPL) of the Hellenic Mediterranean University Research Centre. The recent installation of the ZEUS 45 TW laser system developed at IPPL offers unique opportunities for research in laser-driven particle and X-ray sources. This article provides information about the facility and describes initial experiments performed for establishing the baseline platforms for secondary plasma sources.
Experiments were performed using high-power laser pulses
(greater than 50 TW) focused into underdense helium, neon,
or deuterium plasmas (ne
≤ 5 × 1019 cm−3).
Ions having energies greater than 300 keV were measured
to be produced primarily at 90° to the axis of laser
propagation. Ion energies greater than 6 MeV were recorded
from interactions with neon. Spatially resolved pinhole
images of the ion emission were also obtained and were
used to estimate the intensity of the focused radiation
in the interaction region.
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