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Phys Rev Lett. 2012 Dec 7;109(23):234801. Epub 2012 Dec 3.

Laser-driven proton acceleration enhancement by nanostructured foils.

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  • 1Institute of Physics of the ASCR, ELI-Beamlines/HiLASE project, Na Slovance 2, 18221 Prague, Czech Republic.


Nanostructured thin plastic foils have been used to enhance the mechanism of laser-driven proton beam acceleration. In particular, the presence of a monolayer of polystyrene nanospheres on the target front side has drastically enhanced the absorption of the incident 100 TW laser beam, leading to a consequent increase in the maximum proton energy and beam charge. The cutoff energy increased by about 60% for the optimal spheres' diameter of 535 nm in comparison to the planar foil. The total number of protons with energies higher than 1 MeV was increased approximately 5 times. To our knowledge this is the first experimental demonstration of such advanced target geometry. Experimental results are interpreted and discussed by means of 2(1/2)-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations.

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