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Laser-plasma acceleration at ultra high intensity - numerical modeling

Abstract : With the latest increases in maximum laser intensity achievable through short pulses at high power (femtosecond range) an interest has arisen in potential laser plasma sources. Lasers are used in proton radiography, rapid ignition, hadrontherapy, production of radioisotopes and astrophysical laboratory. During the laser-target interaction, the ions are accelerated by different physical processes, depending on the area of ​​the target. All these mechanisms have one thing in common: the ions are accelerated by intense electric fields, which occur due to the separation of high charge induced by the interaction of the laser pulse with the target, directly or indirectly. Two main distinct sources for charge displacement can be identified. The first is the charge gradient caused by the direct action of the laser ponderomotive force on the electrons in the front surface of the target, which is the premise for the pressure ramping acceleration (RPA) process. A second source can be identified as coming from the laser radiation which is transformed into kinetic energy of a hot relativistic electron population (~ a few MeV). The hot electrons move and recirculate through the target and form a cloud of relativistic electrons at the exit of the target in a vacuum. This cloud, which extends for several lengths of Debye, creates an extremely intense longitudinal electric field, mostly directed along the normal surface, which is therefore the cause of effective ion acceleration, which leads to the normal target sheath acceleration (TNSA) process. The TNSA mechanism makes it possible to use different target geometries in order to obtain a better focusing of the beams of particles on the order of several tens of microns, with high energy densities. Hot electrons are produced by irradiating a solid sheet with an intense laser pulse; these electrons are transported through the target, forming a strong electrostatic field, normal to the target surface. Protons and positively charged ions from the back surface of the target are accelerated by this domain until the charge of the electron is compensated. The density of hot electrons and the temperature in the back vacuum depend on the target geometric and compositional properties such as target curvature, pulse and microstructure tuning structures for enhanced proton acceleration. In my first year I studied the effects of target geometry on the proton and energy ion and angular distribution in order to optimize the accelerated laser particle beams by means of two-dimensional (2D) particle -in-cell (PIC) simulations of the interaction of ultra-short laser pulses with several microstructured targets. Also during this year, I studied the theory behind the models used.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 14, 2019 - 11:44:57 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, March 5, 2020 - 3:26:35 PM

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Emilian-Dragos Tatomirescu. Laser-plasma acceleration at ultra high intensity - numerical modeling. Astrophysics [astro-ph]. Université de Bordeaux; Universitatea de Vest din Timişoara, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019BORD0013⟩. ⟨tel-02128435⟩

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