GSI-FAIR Colloquium

High power laser-driven relativistic optics and ion acceleration in ultrathin foils

by Paul McKenna (University of Strathclyde, Glasgow)

SB1 1.120 (GSI Main Lecture Hall)

SB1 1.120

GSI Main Lecture Hall

Recent progress in high power laser technology enables laser intensities up to 1021 W/cm2 to be achieved. Such lasers are now available in a number of laboratories worldwide, and include the Phelix laser at GSI. Typical pulses have durations from tens to hundreds of femtoseconds and carry electric fields in the order of TV/m. They ionise solid targets and generate highly relativistic electrons. The radiation pressure of the focused laser light separates electrons from ions creating TV/m electrostatic fields, and multi-MA currents propagate and generate Gigagauss magnetic fields. In this seminar, I will provide an overview of the relativistic physics of ultrathin foils irradiated by intense laser light, which is important for the development of compact laser-driven ion sources. I will present recent experimental and simulation results on relativistic optical phenomena, collective plasma motion and particle acceleration, including measurements of near-100 MeV proton energies.