Ion shock acceleration by large amplitude slow ion acoustic double layers in laser-produced plasmas

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A kinetic model for the shock acceleration of ions in laser-produced plasmas is developed. A fraction of the warm ions are accelerated by the large amplitude monotonic potential of the shock created due the plasma compression and electron heating by the laser. The kinetic model for the monotonic shock is based on the slow ion acoustic double layer (SIADL). It is found that the amplitude of the large amplitude SIADL is almost uniquely defined by the electron temperature. Therefore, a balance between electron heating and plasma compression is needed for optimal ion acceleration by this scheme. Typical Mach numbers of the monotonic shocks are close to 1.5. The scheme could potentially produce monoenergetic ions with a relative energy spread of less than 1%. The model is compared with recent simulations and experiments, where efficient shocks acceleration and production of monoenergetic protons have been observed. Similarities and differences with other shock models are pointed out and discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number023111
Number of pages8
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2014


  • ion acceleration
  • shocks
  • laser accelerator
  • acoustic double layers

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