Research Papers in Physics and Astronomy


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Published in Applied Physics B 74 (2002), pp. 207–215. Copyright © 2002 Springer-Verlag. Used by permission.


Multi-MeV ion production from the interaction of a short laser pulse with a high-density plasma, accompanied by an underdense preplasma, has been studied with a particle-in- cell simulation and good agreement is found with experiment. The mechanism primarily responsible for the acceleration of ions is identified. Comparison with experiments sheds light on the ion-energy dependence on laser intensity, preplasma scale length, and relative ion energies for a multi-species plasma. Two regimes of maximum ion-energy dependence on laser intensity, I, have been identified: subrelativistic, μ I ; and relativistic, μ √I. Simulations show that the energy of the accelerated ions versus the preplasma scale length increases linearly and then saturates. In contrast, the ion energy decreases with the thick­ness of the solid-density plasma.

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