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Title: Studies of Electron Acceleration Mechanisms in Relativistic Laser-Plasma Interactions
Author: Nagel, Sabrina Roswitha
ISNI:       0000 0004 2680 6619
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2009
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Laser-plasma interactions have many potential applications, such as medical treatments,x-ray generation, particle acceleration and inertial confinement fusion (ICF).In all of these applications, understanding how laser energy is absorbed by the materialand converted into energetic electrons is very important. Therefore it is vitalto enhance the understanding of how these energetic electrons are created and whatmechanisms influence them. This Thesis comprises experimental studies of electron acceleration mechanismsin laser-plasma interactions, as well as simulations relevant to these experiments. The experiments described were conducted at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratoryutilising the VULCAN laser facility, and investigate laser interactions with both underdenseand overdense plasmas. In the underdense regime, the intensity dependence of the accelerated electronshas been studied experimentally, as well as the impact of the focusing geometry onthe generation of hot electrons. For high intensities, experimental measurementsshow a scaling of the temperature of the electrons with a0. Density and f-numberdependencies of the accelerated electrons are also observed. The effect of laser polarisation and target thickness on the escaping electronsis studied for laser interactions with solid targets, or overdense plasmas. It wasfound that the effective temperature of the electrons depends on both the laserpolarisation and the target thickness. The electron production from ultra-thin foils,and the effect of laser pre-pulse are also investigated.
Supervisor: Krushelnick, Karl ; Najmudin, Zulfikar Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral