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Here, we report the generation of MeV alpha-particles from H-11B fusion initiated by laser-accelerated boron ions. Boron ions with maximum energy of 6 MeV and fluence of 109/MeV/sr@5 MeV were generated from 60 nm-thick self-supporting boron nanofoils irradiated by 1 J femtosecond pulses at an intensity of 1019 W/cm2. By bombarding secondary hydrogenous targets with the boron ions, 3 × 105/sr alpha-particles from H-11B fusion were registered, which is consistent with the theoretical yield calculated from the measured boron energy spectra. Our results demonstrated an alternative way toward ultrashort MeV alpha-particle sources employing compact femtosecond lasers. The ion acceleration and product measurement scheme are referential for the studies on the ion stopping power and cross section of the H-11B reaction in solid or plasma.
Post-acceleration of protons in helical coil targets driven by intense, ultrashort laser pulses can enhance ion energy by utilizing the transient current from the targets’ self-discharge. The acceleration length of protons can exceed a few millimeters, and the acceleration gradient is of the order of GeV/m. How to ensure the synchronization between the accelerating electric field and the protons is a crucial problem for efficient post-acceleration. In this paper, we study how the electric field mismatch induced by current dispersion affects the synchronous acceleration of protons. We propose a scheme using a two-stage helical coil to control the current dispersion. With optimized parameters, the energy gain of protons is increased by four times. Proton energy is expected to reach 45 MeV using a hundreds-of-terawatts laser, or more than 100 MeV using a petawatt laser, by controlling the current dispersion.
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