Ultrafast high-energy dynamics of thin spherical shells of light ions in the Coulomb explosion of heteroclusters

Isidore Last*, Joshua Jortner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Severe deviations from uniform Coulomb explosion can be manifested for extremely ionized molecular heteroclusters, due to kinematic effects. We established unique features of the spatial distribution, energetics, and time-resolved dynamics in Coulomb explosion of multicharged light-heavy heteroclusters, consisting of light, low-charge and heavy, high-charge, ions, e.g., hydroiodic acid (H+IqI+)n and its isotopic substituents (D+IqI+)n and (T+IqI+)n, where extreme multielectron ionization in ultraintense laser fields (peak intensity I=1017-1020Wcm-2) results in qI=25 at I=1019 and qI=35 at I=1020Wcm-2. Electrostatic models and simulations, based on the cluster vertical ionization (CVI) initial conditions for Coulomb explosion of (D+IqI+)2171 and (H+IqI+)2171 ions with qI=25 (corresponding to I=1019Wcm-2), reveal expanding, thin, two-dimensional spherical shells of the light D+ or H+ ions, with the monolayer expansion occurring on the femtosecond time scale. Under initial CVI conditions the model and the simulation results for the formation of femtosecond expanding nanoshells of light ions were confirmed by complete simulations involving both electron and nuclear dynamics in (HI)2171 and (DI)2171 clusters subjected to a Gaussian laser pulse with I=1019Wcm-2. The energetic data for the light ions reveal high energies with a narrow energy distribution, e.g., average energy Eav=23keV at width ΔEEav=0.16 for Coulomb explosion of (D+IqI+)2171 clusters. These dynamic, structural and energetic data for light-heavy (A+IqI+)n heteroclusters (A=H, D, and T) arise from kinematic overrun effects of the A+ ions. Finally, we address the implications of these Coulomb explosion results of (D+IqI+)n heteroclusters for dd nuclear fusion driven by heterocluster Coulomb explosion, where the extremely charged IqI+ ions serve as most effective energetic and kinematic triggers for driving the expanding D+ ions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number063204
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2005


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