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Preprints, Working Papers, ... Year : 2023

Optical Probing of Ultrafast Laser-Induced Solid-to-Overdense-Plasma Transitions

Abstract

Understanding the target dynamics during its interaction with a relativistic ultrashort laser pulse is a challenging fundamental multi-physics problem involving at least atomic and solid-state physics, plasma physics, and laser physics. Already, the properties of the so-called pre-plasma formed as the laser pulse's rising edge ionizes the target are complicated to access in experiments and modeling, and many aspects of this laser-induced transition from solid to overdense plasma over picosecond time scales are still open questions. At the same time, applications like laser-driven ion acceleration require precise knowledge and control of the pre-plasma because the efficiency of the acceleration process itself crucially depends on the target properties at the arrival of the relativistic intensity peak of the pulse. By capturing the dynamics of the initial stage of the interaction, we report on a detailed visualization of the pre-plasma formation and evolution. Nanometer-thin diamond-like carbon foils are shown to transition from solid to plasma during the laser rising edge with intensities < 10^16 W/cm^2. Single-shot near-infrared probe transmission measurements evidence sub-picosecond dynamics of an expanding plasma with densities above 10^23 cm^-3 (about 100 times the critical plasma density). The complementarity of a solid-state interaction model and a kinetic plasma description provides deep insight into the interplay of ionization, collisions, and expansion.
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Dates and versions

hal-04254777 , version 1 (23-10-2023)

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Yasmina Azamoum, Georg Alexander Becker, Sebastian Keppler, Guillaume Duchateau, Stefan Skupin, et al.. Optical Probing of Ultrafast Laser-Induced Solid-to-Overdense-Plasma Transitions. 2023. ⟨hal-04254777⟩
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