Role of target thickness in proton acceleration from near-critical mass-limited plasmas
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The role played by the target thickness in generating high energetic protons by a circularly polarized laser from near-critical mass-limited targets (MLT) has been investigated with the help of three-dimensional (3D) particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations. The radiation pressure accelerates protons from the front side of the target. Due to hole boring, the target front side gets deformed resulting in a change in the effective angle of incidence which causes vacuum heating and hence generates hot electrons. These hot electrons travel through the target at an angle with the laser axis and hence get more diverged along transverse directions for large target thickness. The hot electrons form sheath fields on the target rear side which accelerates protons via target normal sheath acceleration (TNSA). It is observed that the collimation of radiation pressure accelerated protons gets degraded on reaching the target rear side due to TNSA. The effect of transverse hot electron recirculations gets suppressed and the energetic protons get highly collimated on decreasing target thickness as the radiation pressure acceleration (RPA) starts dominating the acceleration process.
We are thankful to the Board of Research in Nuclear Sciences (BRNS), Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Government of India, for providing us the financial support via. Project No. 2012/34/61/BRNS.
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