Laser opacity in underdense preplasma of solid targets due to quantum electrodynamics effects

Laser opacity in underdense preplasma of solid targets due to quantum electrodynamics effects We investigate how next-generation laser pulses at 10–200PW interact with a solid target in the presence of a relativistically underdense preplasma produced by amplified spontaneous emission (ASE). Laser hole boring and relativistic transparency are strongly restrained due to the generation of electron-positron pairs and γ-ray photons via quantum electrodynamics (QED) processes. A pair plasma with a density above the initial preplasma density is formed, counteracting the electron-free channel produced by hole boring. This pair-dominated plasma can block laser transport and trigger an avalanchelike QED cascade, efficiently transferring the laser energy to the photons. This renders a 1-μm scale-length, underdense preplasma completely opaque to laser pulses at this power level. The QED-induced opacity therefore sets much higher contrast requirements for such a pulse in solid-target experiments than expected by classical plasma physics. Our simulations show, for example, that proton acceleration from the rear of a solid with a preplasma would be strongly impaired. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Physical Review E American Physical Society (APS)

Laser opacity in underdense preplasma of solid targets due to quantum electrodynamics effects

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Laser opacity in underdense preplasma of solid targets due to quantum electrodynamics effects

Abstract

We investigate how next-generation laser pulses at 10–200PW interact with a solid target in the presence of a relativistically underdense preplasma produced by amplified spontaneous emission (ASE). Laser hole boring and relativistic transparency are strongly restrained due to the generation of electron-positron pairs and γ-ray photons via quantum electrodynamics (QED) processes. A pair plasma with a density above the initial preplasma density is formed, counteracting the electron-free channel produced by hole boring. This pair-dominated plasma can block laser transport and trigger an avalanchelike QED cascade, efficiently transferring the laser energy to the photons. This renders a 1-μm scale-length, underdense preplasma completely opaque to laser pulses at this power level. The QED-induced opacity therefore sets much higher contrast requirements for such a pulse in solid-target experiments than expected by classical plasma physics. Our simulations show, for example, that proton acceleration from the rear of a solid with a preplasma would be strongly impaired.
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Publisher
The American Physical Society
Copyright
Copyright © ©2017 American Physical Society
ISSN
1539-3755
eISSN
550-2376
D.O.I.
10.1103/PhysRevE.96.013201
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

We investigate how next-generation laser pulses at 10–200PW interact with a solid target in the presence of a relativistically underdense preplasma produced by amplified spontaneous emission (ASE). Laser hole boring and relativistic transparency are strongly restrained due to the generation of electron-positron pairs and γ-ray photons via quantum electrodynamics (QED) processes. A pair plasma with a density above the initial preplasma density is formed, counteracting the electron-free channel produced by hole boring. This pair-dominated plasma can block laser transport and trigger an avalanchelike QED cascade, efficiently transferring the laser energy to the photons. This renders a 1-μm scale-length, underdense preplasma completely opaque to laser pulses at this power level. The QED-induced opacity therefore sets much higher contrast requirements for such a pulse in solid-target experiments than expected by classical plasma physics. Our simulations show, for example, that proton acceleration from the rear of a solid with a preplasma would be strongly impaired.

Journal

Physical Review EAmerican Physical Society (APS)

Published: Jul 5, 2017

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