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Appl Phys Lett. 2009 May 18;94(20):201117. Epub 2009 May 22.

Relativistic plasma shutter for ultraintense laser pulses.


A relativistic plasma shutter technique is proposed and tested to remove the sub-100 ps pedestal of a high-intensity laser pulse. The shutter is an ultrathin foil placed before the target of interest. As the leading edge of the laser ionizes the shutter material it will expand into a relativistically underdense plasma allowing for the peak pulse to propagate through while rejecting the low intensity pedestal. An increase in the laser temporal contrast is demonstrated by measuring characteristic signatures in the accelerated proton spectra and directionality from the interaction of 30 TW pulses with ultrathin foils along with supporting hydrodynamic and particle-in-cell simulations.

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