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Phys Plasmas. 2010 Apr;17(4). pii: 043105. Epub 2010 Apr 12.

Generation of GeV protons from 1 PW laser interaction with near critical density targets.


The propagation of ultraintense laser pulses through matter is connected with the generation of strong moving magnetic fields in the propagation channel as well as the formation of a thin ion filament along the axis of the channel. Upon exiting the plasma the magnetic field displaces the electrons at the back of the target, generating a quasistatic electric field that accelerates and collimates ions from the filament. Two dimensional particle-in-cell simulations show that a 1 PW laser pulse tightly focused on a near-critical density target is able to accelerate protons up to an energy of 1.3 GeV. Scaling laws and optimal conditions for proton acceleration are established considering the energy depletion of the laser pulse.

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