Laser-produced protons and their application as a particle probe

Year: 2002

Authors: Borghesi M., Campbell DH., Schiavi A., Willi O., Mackinnon AJ., Hicks D., Patel P., Gizzi LA., Galimberti M., Clarke RJ.

Autors Affiliation: Queens Univ Belfast, Dept Pure & Appl Phys, Belfast BT7 1NN, Antrim, North Ireland

Abstract: One of the most exciting results recently obtained in the ultraintense interaction research area is the observation of beams of protons with energies up to several tens of megaelectron volts, generated during the interaction of ultraintense picosecond pulses with solid targets. The particular properties of these beams (high brilliance, small source size, high degree of collimation, short duration) make them of exceptional interest in view of diagnostic applications. In a series of experiments carried out at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) and at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), the laser-produced proton beams have been characterized in view of their application as a particle probe for high-density matter, and applied to diagnose ultraintense laser plasma interactions. In general, the intensity cross section of a proton beam traversing matter will be modified both by collisional stopping/scattering, and deflections caused by electric/magnetic fields. With a suitable choice of irradiation geometry and target parameters, the proton probe can be made mainly sensitive to the electric field distribution in the object probed. Therefore, point projection proton imaging appears as a powerful and unique technique for electric field detection in laser-irradiated targets and plasmas. The first measurements of transient electric fields in high-intensity laser-plasma interactions have been obtained with this technique.


Volume: 20 (2)      Pages from: 269  to: 275

KeyWords: e.m. fields diagnosis; laser-plasma interaction; particle acceleration
DOI: 10.1017/S0263034602202177

Citations: 51
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