Approaches to particle acceleration in intense laser-matter interaction
In the interaction of ultra-intense laser fields with matter, the target is rapidly ionized and a plasma is formed. The ability of a plasma to sustain acceleration gradients, orders of magnitude larger than achievable with conventional accelerators, has led to a great interest in laser-driven plasma-based particle acceleration and radiation generation, with applications in materials science, biology and medicine.
In this thesis we consider laser-driven plasma-based particle acceleration by studying the interaction of intense laser fields with solid density targets. The basics of such interactions are described and some of the most common acceleration schemes are presented. We study the effect of adding microstructures on the illuminated side of a solid target and show how this affects the resulting distribution of hot electrons.
Furthermore, we discuss how to achieve controllable ion acceleration through displacement of electrons by standing waves. A recently proposed laser-driven ion acceleration scheme, called chirped-standing-wave acceleration, is introduced and described in detail. Finally, we analyze the robustness of this acceleration scheme under non-ideal conditions and discuss its prospects and limitations.