Generation of Ion Beams from High-Z Target Irradiated by Laser Pulse of Ultra-Relativistic Intensity
J. Domański, J. Badziak
Institute of Plasma Physics and Laser Microfusion, Warsaw, Poland
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High-energy heavy ion beams produced by conventional RF-driven accelerators are a basic research tool in nuclear and particle physics but they also find applications in other domains such as high energy-density physics or materials science. With their potential to be more compact and less complex, laser-driven ion accelerators are considered to be a promising alternative or supplement to RF-driven accelerators. However, for achieving GeV or multi-GeV ion energies, multi-PW laser drivers and ultra-relativistic laser beam intensities (≥1023 W/cm2) are required. Such multi-PW lasers are currently being built, in particular in Europe, as part of the Extreme Light Infrastructure project. In this paper, the results of numerical studies on the acceleration of heavy ions from a gold sub-micrometer target irradiated by a 30-fs, multi-PW laser pulse of ultra-relativistic intensity (~1023 W/cm2) and with linear or circular polarization are reported. The numerical simulations were performed using advanced, multi-dimensional (2D3V) particle-in-cell code PICDOM which includes, in particular, the dynamic ionization of the target and the accelerated ions as well as radiation losses due to synchrotron radiation emitted by ultra-relativistic electrons. It was found that the effect of radiation losses on the ion beam parameters is stronger for the linear polarization laser beam and radiation losses influences first of all the maximum ion energy. However, the effect of radiation losses on the mean ion energy, ion beam fluence and intensity and the ion pulse shape is insignificant, below 1-2%, both for the circular or linear polarization beam. For both beam polarizations, the multi-PW laser pulse generates an ultra-intense multi-GeV gold ion beam of intensities (>1020 W/cm2) and durations (<100 fs) which are presently unattainable in RF-driven accelerators.

topics: heavy ion beam, laser-driven ion acceleration, laser-plasma interaction, multi-PW laser