Laser-driven particle acceleration has become a growing field of research, in particular for its numerous interesting applications. One of the most common proton acceleration mechanism that is obtained on typically available multi-hundred TW laser systems is based on the irradiation of thin solid metal foils by the intense laser, generating the proton acceleration on its rear target surface. The efficiency of this acceleration scheme strongly depends on the type of target used. Improving the acceleration mechanism, i.e. enhancing parameters such as maximum proton energy, laminarity, efficiency, monocromaticy, and number of accelerated particles, is heavily depending on the laser-to-target absorption, where obviously cheap and easy to implement targets are best candidates. In this work, we present nanostructured targets that are able to increase the absorption of light compared to what can be achieved with a classical solid (non-nanostructured) target and are produced with a method that is much simpler and cheaper than conventional lithographic processes. Several layers of gold nanoparticles were deposited on solid targets (aluminum, Mylar and multiwalled carbon nanotube buckypaper) and allow for an increased photon absorption. This ultimately permits to increase the laser-to-particle energy transfer, and thus to enhance the yield in proton production. Experimental characterization results on the nanostructured films are presented (UV-Vis spectroscopy and AFM), along with preliminary experimental proton spectra obtained at the JLF-TITAN laser facility at LLNL.
Simon Vallières, Antonia Morabito, Simona Veltri, Massimiliano Scisciò, Marianna Barberio, and Patrizio Antici, "Laser-driven proton acceleration with nanostructured targets," Proc. SPIE 10240, Laser Acceleration of Electrons, Protons, and Ions IV, 1024009 (Presented at SPIE Optics + Optoelectronics: April 24, 2017; Published: 7 May 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2265913.
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