Optimization of plasma mirror reflectivity and optical quality using double laser pulses

G G Scott, V Bagnoud, C Brabetz, R J Clarke, J S Green, R I Heathcote, H W Powell, B Zielbauer, T D Arber, P McKenna, D Neely

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We measure a record 962.5 % specularly reflected energy fraction from an
interaction with a plasma mirror surface preionised by a controlled prepulse and find that the optical quality is dependent on the inter pulse time delay. Simulations show that the main pulse reflected energy is a strong function of plasma density scale length, which increases with the time delay and reaches a peak reflectivity for a scale length of 0.3 m, which is achieved here for a pulse separation time of 3 ps. It is found that the incident laser quasi near field intensity distribution leads to nonuniformities in this plasma expansion and consequent critical surface position distribution. The plasma mirror optical quality is found to be governed by the resultant perturbations in the critical surface position, which become larger with inter pulse time delay.
Original languageEnglish
Article number033027
Number of pages10
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2015


  • plasma
  • optical quality
  • double laser pulses
  • chirped pulse amplification


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