(Color online) PIC simulation of proton acceleration from a target ionized by a relativistically intense laser pulse propagating from left to right. A dashed line is used for protons initially situated on the back surface of the target; the red (green) solid line represents the trajectory of the center of mass of a proton bunch initially moving toward the back (front) surface of the target. The spatio-temporal evolution of the longitudinal electric field is shown in false colors.
Total charge of the target vs time deduced from the 2D PIC simulations; value of unity represents the case when all electrons are expelled from the target.
Normalized output kinetic energy vs initial proton energy. (a) Protons initially moving in the direction of the laser pulse (forward). (b) Protons initially moving in direction opposite to that of the laser pulse (backward). The dashed lines represent protons moving in backward direction after the interaction, while the solid lines depict forward moving protons.
Proposed experimental setup for increased proton energy. (a) Conventional double-layer target geometry. (b) Two-stage proton amplification, pumped by the same total laser power, utilizing the Coulomb mirror effect.
Increased efficiency in a two-stage proton accelerator exploring the Coulomb mirror effect; squares – 2D PIC simulation results; circles – 3D model predictions (open – with Coulomb explosion of the target, full – no Coulomb explosion).
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