Particle-in-Cell modeling of a potential demonstration experiment for double pulse enhanced target normal sheath acceleration

12 Jan 2021  ·  Nashad Rahman, Joseph R. Smith, Gregory Ngirmang, Chris Orban ·

Ultra intense lasers are a promising source of energetic ions for various applications. An interesting approach described in Ferri et al. 2019 argues from Particle-in-Cell simulations that using two laser pulses of half energy (half intensity) arriving with close to 45 degrees angle of incidence is significantly more effective at accelerating ions than one pulse at full energy (full intensity)... For a variety of reasons, at the time of this writing there has not yet been a true experimental confirmation of this enhancement. In this paper we perform 2D Particle-in-Cell simulations to examine if a milliJoule class, 5x10^18 W cm^-2 peak intensity laser system could be used for such a demonstration experiment. Laser systems in this class can operate at a kHz rate which should be helpful for addressing some of the challenges of performing this experiment. Despite investigating a 3.5 times lower intensity than Ferri et al. 2019 did, we find that the double pulse approach enhances the peak proton energy and the energy conversion to protons by a factor of about three compared to a single laser pulse with the same total laser energy. We also comment on the nature of the enhancement and describe simulations that examine how the enhancement may depend on the spatial or temporal alignment of the two pulses. read more

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Plasma Physics