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Title: Investigations of ion acceleration from solid targets driven by ultrashort laser pulses
Author: Scullion, Clare
ISNI:       0000 0004 6495 0304
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2017
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The acceleration of ions generated by the irradiation of thin solid targets by ultrashort linearly polarised (LP) and circularly polarised (CP) laser pulses has been investigated. High power lasers (HPLs) offer a compact and cost effective method for accelerating ions with promising characteristics for widespread applications in industry, healthcare and science. The work presented in this thesis aims to further understand the ion acceleration mechanisms which take place when thin solid targets are irradiated under different conditions. The key acceleration mechanisms discussed are the well established target normal sheath acceleration (TNSA), radiation pressure acceleration (RPA) and transparency enhanced acceleration (TEA). The key diagnostics employed were Thomson parabola spectrometers (TPS), radiochromic film (RCF) and Columbia Resin #39 (CR-39); these were calibrated to give information about the quantity, energy and type of ions produced in addition to their spatial profile. Flat foil aluminium targets were irradiated at the PULSER laser at the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST) using LP laser pulses and no plasma mirrors. Investigations of the interactions of high intensity, ultrashort laser pulses with ultrathin carbon foils (2.5 -100 nm) whilst employing a double plasma mirror (DPM) configuration were carried out on the Gemini facility at the Central Laser Facility (CLF), UK. For the thicker targets, the maximum ion energies were higher for LP pulses, while below 25 nm there were significantly higher energies for both protons (35 MeV) and carbon ions (25 MeV/u) for CP laser pulses. A strong difference in the beam profile was observed for the different polarisations, and 3D PIC simulations are in good agreement with the measurements, providing evidence that a regime in which RPA is the dominant acceleration mechanism can be accessed at current intensities by careful control of the interaction parameters such as the pulse contrast, polarisation and target thickness.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available