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Controlled transition to different proton acceleration regimes: near-critical density plasmas driven by circularly polarized few cycle pulse

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posted on 2023-03-24, 16:01 authored by Shivani Choudhary, Sudipta Mondal, Daniele Margarone, Subhendu Kahaly
We investigate the different facets of ion acceleration by a relativistically intense circularly polarized laser pulse interacting with thin near-critical density plasma targets. Our simulations establish that plasma density gradient and laser frequency chirp can be controlled to switch the interaction from the transparent to the opaque regimes of operation. This enables one to choose between a Maxwellian like ion energy distribution with a cut-off energy, in the relativistically transparent regime, or a quasi-monoenergetic spectrum, in the opaque regime. We subsequently demonstrate that a double-layer multi-species target configuration, can be effectively utilized for optimal generation of quasi mono-energetic ion bunches of a desired species. We finally demonstrate, the feasibility of generating mono-energetic proton beams with energy peak at $\mathcal{E}\approx20\sim40$ MeV with a narrow energy spread of $\Delta \mathcal{E}/\mathcal{E}\approx18-28.6\%$ confined within a divergence angle of $\sim 175$ millirad at a reasonable laser peak intensity of $I_{0}\simeq 5.4\times 10^{20}\, \mathrm{W/cm^2}$.

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