Journal article Open Access

Hegelich, M. et al. Laser acceleration of quasi-monoenergetic MeV ion beams. Nature 439, 441-444

Hegelich, B. M.; Albright, B. J.; Cobble, J.; Flippo, K.; Letzring, S.; Paffett, M.; Ruhl, H.; Schreiber, J.; Schulze, R. K.; Fernández, J. C.

Acceleration of particles by intense laser-plasma interactions represents a rapidly evolving field of interest, as highlighted by the recent demonstration of laser-driven relativistic beams of monoenergetic electrons. Ultrahigh-intensity lasers can produce accelerating fields of 10 TV m(-1) (1 TV = 10(12) V), surpassing those in conventional accelerators by six orders of magnitude. Laser-driven ions with energies of several MeV per nucleon have also been produced. Such ion beams exhibit unprecedented characteristics--short pulse lengths, high currents and low transverse emittance--but their exponential energy spectra have almost 100% energy spread. This large energy spread, which is a consequence of the experimental conditions used to date, remains the biggest impediment to the wider use of this technology. Here we report the production of quasi-monoenergetic laser-driven C5+ ions with a vastly reduced energy spread of 17%. The ions have a mean energy of 3 MeV per nucleon (full-width at half-maximum approximately 0.5 MeV per nucleon) and a longitudinal emittance of less than 2 x 10(-6) eV s for pulse durations shorter than 1 ps. Such laser-driven, high-current, quasi-monoenergetic ion sources may enable significant advances in the development of compact MeV ion accelerators, new diagnostics, medical physics, inertial confinement fusion and fast ignition.

Files (224.3 kB)
Name Size
224.3 kB Download
Views 9
Downloads 28
Data volume 6.3 MB
Unique views 9
Unique downloads 27


Cite as