Enhanced brightness of a laser-driven X-ray and particle source by microstructured surfaces of silicon targets

Tina Ebert*, Nico W. Neumann, Leonard N.K. Döhl, Jonathan Jarrett, Christopher Baird, Robert Heathcote, Markus Hesse, Aasia Hughes, Paul McKenna, David Neely, Dean Rusby, Gabriel Schaumann, Christopher Spindloe, Alexandra Tebartz, Nigel Woolsey, Markus Roth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The production of intense X-ray and particle sources is one of the most remarkable aspects of high energy laser interaction with a solid target. Wide application of these laser-driven secondary sources requires a high yield, which is partially limited by the amount of laser energy absorbed by the target. Here, we report on the enhancement of laser absorption and X-ray and particle flux by target surface modifications. In comparison to targets with flat front surfaces, our experiments show exceptional laser-to-target performance for our novel cone-shaped silicon microstructures. The structures are manufactured via laser-induced surface structuring. Spectral and spatial studies of reflectance and X-ray generation reveal significant increases of the silicon Kα line and a boost of the overall X-ray intensity, while the amount of reflected light decreases. Also, the proton and electron yields are enhanced, but both temperatures remain comparable to those of flat foil targets. We support the experimental findings with 2D particle in cell simulations to identify the mechanisms responsible for the strong enhancement. Our results demonstrate how custom surface structures can be used to engineer high power laser-plasma sources for future applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number043106
Number of pages7
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2020

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