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Experimental Study of Proton Acceleration from Ultra Intense Laser Matter Interactions
AuthorPaudel, Yadab K.
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This dissertation describes proton and ion acceleration measurements from high intensity (~ 1019 Wcm-2) laser interactions with thin foil targets. Protons and ions accelerated from the back surface of a target driven by a high intensity laser are detected using solid-state nuclear track detector CR39. A simple digital imaging technique, with an adjustable halogen light source shined on CR39 and use of a digital camera with suitable f-number and exposure time, is used to detect particles tracks. This new technique improves the quality 2D image with vivid track patterns in CR39. Our technique allows us to quickly record and sort CR39 pieces for further analysis. This is followed by detailed quantitative information on the protons and ions. Protons and multicharged ions generated from high-intensity laser interactions with thin foil targets have been studied with a 100 TW laser system. Protons/ions with energies up to 10 MeV are accelerated either from the front or the rear surface of the target material. We have observed for the first time a self-radiograph of the target with a glass stalk holding the target itself in the stacked radiochromic films (RCF) placed behind the target. The self-radiography indicates that the fast ions accelerated backward, in a direction opposite to the laser propagation, are turning around in strong magnetic fields. This unique result is a signature of long-living (ns time scale) magnetic fields in the expanding plasma, which are important in energy transport during the intense laser irradiation and have never been considered in the previous studies. The magnetic fields induced by the main pulse near the absorption point expand rapidly with the backward accelerated protons in the pre-formed plasma. The protons are rotated by these magnetic fields and they are recorded in the RCF, making the self-radiography. Angular profiles of protons and multicharged ions accelerated from the target rear surface have been studied with the subpicosecond laser pulse produced by the 100 TW laser system. The protons/ions beam features recorded on CR39 show the hollow beam structure at the center of the beam pattern. This hollow structure in the proton/ion beam pattern associates to the electron transport inside the solid target, which affects the target's rear-surface emission or the electrostatic profile on the target rear-surface. The proton/ion beam filamentation has been seen clearly outside the hollow beam pattern in the CR39 images processed by the new digital imaging technique.