Numerical studies of acceleration of thorium ions by a laser pulse of ultra-relativistic intensity
Institute of Plasma Physics and Laser Mirofusion, 01-497 Warsaw, Poland
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Published online: 9 January 2018
One of the key scientific projects of ELI-Nuclear Physics is to study the production of extremely neutron-rich nuclides by a new reaction mechanism called fission-fusion using laser-accelerated thorium (232Th) ions. This research is of crucial importance for understanding the nature of the creation of heavy elements in the Universe; however, they require Th ion beams of very high beam fluencies and intensities which are inaccessible in conventional accelerators. This contribution is a first attempt to investigate the possibility of the generation of intense Th ion beams by a fs laser pulse of ultra-relativistic intensity. The investigation was performed with the use of fully electromagnetic relativistic particle-in-cell code. A sub-μm thorium target was irradiated by a circularly polarized 20-fs laser pulse of intensity up to 1023 W/cm2, predicted to be attainable at ELI-NP. At the laser intensity ~ 1023 W/cm2 and an optimum target thickness, the maximum energies of Th ions approach 9.3 GeV, the ion beam intensity is > 1020 W/cm2 and the total ion fluence reaches values ~ 1019 ions/cm2. The last two values are much higher than attainable in conventional accelerators and are fairly promising for the planned ELI-NP experiment.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2018
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