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We present 3D Particle-in-Cell (PIC) modeling of an ultra-intense laser experiment by the Extreme Light group at the Air Force Research Laboratory using the Large Scale Plasma (LSP) PIC code. This is the first time PIC simulations have been performed in 3D for this experiment which involves an ultra-intense, short-pulse (30 fs) laser interacting with a water jet target at normal incidence. The laser-energy-to-ejected-electron-energy conversion efficiency observed in 2D(3) simulations were comparable to the conversion efficiencies seen in the 3D simulations, but the angular distribution of ejected electrons in the 2D(3) simulations displayed interesting differences with the 3D simulations' angular distribution; the observed differences between the 2D(3) and 3D simulations were more noticeable for the simulations with higher intensity laser pulses. An analytic plane-wave model is discussed which provides some explanation for the angular distribution and energies of ejected electrons in the 2D(3) simulations. We also performed a 3D simulation with circularly polarized light and found a significantly higher conversion efficiency and peak electron energy, which is promising for future experiments.


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