Vlasov simulation of ion acceleration by an intense laser beam normally incident on a thin target*
1 Institut de recherche Hydro-Québec
2 INRS Energie, Matériaux et Télécommunications, Université du Québec, Varennes, J3X1S2 Québec, Canada
Received in final form: 9 May 2014
Published online: 24 September 2014
We use an Eulerian Vlasov code to study the radiation pressure acceleration of ions and the formation of plasma jets when a high-intensity circularly polarized laser beam is normally incident on a thin target. The code solves the one-dimensional (1D) relativistic Vlasov-Maxwell equations for both electrons and ions. We consider a deuterium plasma with a density n = 25ncr (ncr is the critical density, i.e. the cutoff density for the laser beam propagation). In the case we present, the target is sufficiently thin that a fraction of the incident laser beam is transmitted through it. Along with this, we observe first a leak or ejection of electrons in the forward direction from the back of the target, which is followed by the formation and ejection of a neutral plasma jet (a regime called “leaky light sail radiation pressure acceleration”). The Vlasov code allows to follow the evolution of the system, with an accurate representation of the phase-space structures of the distribution functions.
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag 2014