A technique for optical control of the spatial distribution of laser-accelerated ion beams is presented. An ultrashort laser pulse, tightly focused to relativistic intensities on a thin foil target, drives a beam of MeV ions. An auxiliary, nanosecond laser pulse drives a shock and locally deforms the initially flat target prior to the main pulse interaction. By changing the properties of the shock-driving laser pulse, the normal direction of the ion emitting surface is locally manipulated and the emission direction is thereby controlled. In the future, this method could be used to achieve dynamic control of the ion beam divergence.
- active steering
- ion beams