7 May 2013 Simulation studies of radiation pressure-driven light sail and shock acceleration
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Abstract
Simulation results are reported for two ion acceleration mechanisms driven by radiation pressure. Three-dimensional (3D) simulations of the acceleration of thin foils by circularly polarized pulses (“light sail” regime) at ultra-relativistic intensities (a0 > 100) show an ion energy that is higher than observed in 1D and 2D simulations, presumably due to density rarefaction and self-wrapping of the laser pulse as the foil is deformed. Simulations of the interaction of linearly polarized pulses with long-scalelength, moderately overdense plasmas at mildly relativistic intensities (a0 = 1÷10) show radiation-pressure driven formation of both solitary and shock waves leading to ion acceleration in the target bulk. In 1D simulations, the spectrum of the accelerated ions is monoenergetic within some range of the initial ion temperature. In 2D simulations, the onset of rippling at the shock surface apparently leads to broadening of the energy spectrum.
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Andrea Sgattoni, Matteo Tamburini, Tatiana V. Liseykina, Amritpal Singh Nindrayog, Francesco Pegoraro, Andrea Macchi, "Simulation studies of radiation pressure-driven light sail and shock acceleration", Proc. SPIE 8779, Laser Acceleration of Electrons, Protons, and Ions II; and Medical Applications of Laser-Generated Beams of Particles II; and Harnessing Relativistic Plasma Waves III, 87790H (7 May 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2017379; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2017379
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