Forward ion acceleration in thin films driven by a high-intensity laser

A. Maksimchuk, S. Gu, K. Flippo, D. Umstadter, A. Yu Bychenkov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

748 Scopus citations


A collimated beam of fast protons, with energies as high as 1.5 MeV and total number of ≿ 109, confined in a cone angle of 40° ± 10° is observed when a high-intensity high-contrast subpicosecond laser pulse is focused onto a thin foil target. The protons, which appear to originate from impurities on the front side of the target, are accelerated over a region extending into the target and exit out the back side in a direction normal to the target surface. Acceleration field gradients ˜ 10GeV/cm are inferred. The maximum proton energy can be explained by the charge-separation electrostatic-field acceleration due to “vacuum heating.”.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4108-4111
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number18
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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