Date of this Version
The recent proposal to use highly charged ions as sources of electrons for laser acceleration [S. X. Hu and A. F. Starace, Phys. Rev. Lett. 88, 245003 (2002)] is investigated here in detail by means of three-dimensional, relativistic Monte Carlo simulations for a variety of system parameters, such as laser pulse duration, ionic charge state, and laser focusing spot size. Realistic laser focusing effects—e.g., the existence of longitudinal laser field components—are taken into account. Results of spatial averaging over the laser focus are also presented. These numerical simulations show that the proposed scheme for laser acceleration of electrons from highly charged ions is feasible with current or near-future experimental conditions and that electrons with GeV energies can be obtained in such experiments.