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High efficiency proton beam generation through target thickness control in femtosecond laser-plasma interactions

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Published copy (DOI)


  • J. S. Green
  • A. P.L. Robinson
  • N. Booth
  • D. C. Carroll
  • R. J. Dance
  • R. J. Gray
  • D. A. MacLellan
  • P. McKenna
  • C. D. Murphy
  • D. Rusby
  • L. Wilson


Publication details

JournalApplied Physics Letters
DatePublished - 26 May 2014
Issue number21
Original languageEnglish


Bright proton beams with maximum energies of up to 30MeV have been observed in an experiment investigating ion sheath acceleration driven by a short pulse (<50 fs) laser. The scaling of maximum proton energy and total beam energy content at ultra-high intensities of ∼1021 W cm-2 was investigated, with the interplay between target thickness and laser pre-pulse found to be a key factor. While the maximum proton energies observed were maximised for lm-thick targets, the total proton energy content was seen to peak for thinner, 500 nm, foils. The total proton beam energy reached up to 440 mJ (a conversion efficiency of 4%), marking a significant step forward for many laser-driven ion applications. The experimental results are supported by hydrodynamic and particle-in-cell simulations.

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