PHYSICS: Proton Production with Lasers

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Science  28 Feb 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5611, pp. 1285a
DOI: 10.1126/science.299.5611.1285a

Owing to the large electric fields that can be sustained in a plasma, the production of ions, electrons, protons, and other particles during the interaction between high-powered lasers and matter is currently being pursued for future particle accelerators. However, the broad range of energies with which these particles are produced prevents a clear picture of the acceleration mechanism(s) involved. Zepf et al. performed a series of systematic experiments looking at proton production during the impact of high-powered laser pulses on thin foils of varied thickness possessing controlled hydrocarbon surface layers. Three distinct proton populations that contribute to the overall signal were distinguished, thereby providing a handle on the various acceleration mechanisms at play and suggesting possible opportunities for controlling the distribution of the protons produced. — ISO

Phys. Rev. Lett. 90, 064801 (2003).

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