Hollow microspheres as targets for staged laser-driven proton acceleration

M Burza, A Gonoskov, G Genoud, A Persson, K Svensson, M Quinn, P McKenna, M Marklund, C-G Wahlström

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A coated hollow core microsphere is introduced as a novel target in ultra-intense laser-matter interaction experiments. In particular, it facilitates staged laser-driven proton acceleration by combining conventional target normal sheath acceleration (TNSA), power recycling of hot laterally spreading electrons and staging in a very simple and cheap target geometry. During TNSA of protons from one area of the sphere surface, laterally spreading hot electrons form a charge wave. Due to the spherical geometry, this wave refocuses on the opposite side of the sphere, where an opening has been laser micromachined. This leads to a strong transient charge separation field being set up there, which can post-accelerate those TNSA protons passing through the hole at the right time. Experimentally, the feasibility of using such targets is demonstrated. A redistribution is encountered in the experimental proton energy spectra, as predicted by particle-in-cell simulations and attributed to transient fields set up by oscillating currents on the sphere surface.

Original languageEnglish
Article number013030
Number of pages14
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2011


  • thin foils
  • intensity
  • generation
  • contrast
  • pulses
  • beams
  • ions

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