Laser pulse propagation and enhanced energy coupling to fast electrons in dense plasma gradients

R J Gray, D C Carroll, X H Yuan, C M Brenner, M Burza, M Coury, K L Lancaster, X X Lin, Y T Li, D Neely, M N Quinn, O Tresca, C-G Wahlström, P McKenna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Laser energy absorption to fast electrons during the interaction of an ultra-intense (1020 W/cm2), picosecond laser pulse with a solid is investigated, experimentally and numerically, as a function of the plasma density scale length at the irradiated surface. It is shown that there is an optimum density gradient for efficient energy coupling to electrons and that this arises due to strong self-focusing and channeling driving energy absorption over an extended length in the preformed plasma. At longer density gradients the laser laments, resulting in significantly lower overall energy coupling. As the scale length is further increased, a transition to a second laser energy absorption process is observed experimentally via multiple diagnostics. The results demonstrate that it is possible to significantly enhance laser energy absorption and coupling to fast electrons by dynamically controlling the plasma density gradient.
LanguageEnglish
Article number113075
Number of pages13
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Volume16
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2014

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dense plasmas
energy absorption
gradients
propagation
pulses
lasers
electrons
plasma density
energy
self focusing
interactions

Keywords

  • laser pulse
  • energy coupling
  • fast electrons
  • plasma gradients

Cite this

Gray, R J ; Carroll, D C ; Yuan, X H ; Brenner, C M ; Burza, M ; Coury, M ; Lancaster, K L ; Lin, X X ; Li, Y T ; Neely, D ; Quinn, M N ; Tresca, O ; Wahlström, C-G ; McKenna, P. / Laser pulse propagation and enhanced energy coupling to fast electrons in dense plasma gradients. In: New Journal of Physics. 2014 ; Vol. 16, No. 11.
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abstract = "Laser energy absorption to fast electrons during the interaction of an ultra-intense (1020 W/cm2), picosecond laser pulse with a solid is investigated, experimentally and numerically, as a function of the plasma density scale length at the irradiated surface. It is shown that there is an optimum density gradient for efficient energy coupling to electrons and that this arises due to strong self-focusing and channeling driving energy absorption over an extended length in the preformed plasma. At longer density gradients the laser laments, resulting in significantly lower overall energy coupling. As the scale length is further increased, a transition to a second laser energy absorption process is observed experimentally via multiple diagnostics. The results demonstrate that it is possible to significantly enhance laser energy absorption and coupling to fast electrons by dynamically controlling the plasma density gradient.",
keywords = "laser pulse, energy coupling, fast electrons, plasma gradients",
author = "Gray, {R J} and Carroll, {D C} and Yuan, {X H} and Brenner, {C M} and M Burza and M Coury and Lancaster, {K L} and Lin, {X X} and Li, {Y T} and D Neely and Quinn, {M N} and O Tresca and C-G Wahlstr{\"o}m and P McKenna",
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Gray, RJ, Carroll, DC, Yuan, XH, Brenner, CM, Burza, M, Coury, M, Lancaster, KL, Lin, XX, Li, YT, Neely, D, Quinn, MN, Tresca, O, Wahlström, C-G & McKenna, P 2014, 'Laser pulse propagation and enhanced energy coupling to fast electrons in dense plasma gradients' New Journal of Physics, vol. 16, no. 11, 113075. https://doi.org/10.1088/1367-2630/16/11/113075

Laser pulse propagation and enhanced energy coupling to fast electrons in dense plasma gradients. / Gray, R J; Carroll, D C; Yuan, X H; Brenner, C M; Burza, M; Coury, M; Lancaster, K L; Lin, X X; Li, Y T; Neely, D; Quinn, M N; Tresca, O; Wahlström, C-G; McKenna, P.

In: New Journal of Physics, Vol. 16, No. 11, 113075, 28.11.2014.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Laser pulse propagation and enhanced energy coupling to fast electrons in dense plasma gradients

AU - Gray, R J

AU - Carroll, D C

AU - Yuan, X H

AU - Brenner, C M

AU - Burza, M

AU - Coury, M

AU - Lancaster, K L

AU - Lin, X X

AU - Li, Y T

AU - Neely, D

AU - Quinn, M N

AU - Tresca, O

AU - Wahlström, C-G

AU - McKenna, P

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AB - Laser energy absorption to fast electrons during the interaction of an ultra-intense (1020 W/cm2), picosecond laser pulse with a solid is investigated, experimentally and numerically, as a function of the plasma density scale length at the irradiated surface. It is shown that there is an optimum density gradient for efficient energy coupling to electrons and that this arises due to strong self-focusing and channeling driving energy absorption over an extended length in the preformed plasma. At longer density gradients the laser laments, resulting in significantly lower overall energy coupling. As the scale length is further increased, a transition to a second laser energy absorption process is observed experimentally via multiple diagnostics. The results demonstrate that it is possible to significantly enhance laser energy absorption and coupling to fast electrons by dynamically controlling the plasma density gradient.

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