Undepleted direct laser acceleration

Itamar Cohen, Talia Meir, Kavin Tangtartharakul, Lior Perelmutter, Michal Elkind, Yonatan Gershuni, Assaf Levanon, Alexey V. Arefiev, Ishay Pomerantz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Intense lasers enable generating high-energy particle beams in university-scale laboratories. With the direct laser acceleration (DLA) method, the leading part of the laser pulse ionizes the target material and forms a positively charged ion plasma channel into which electrons are injected and accelerated. The high energy conversion efficiency of DLA makes it ideal for generating large numbers of photonuclear reactions. In this work, we reveal that, for efficient DLA to prevail, a target material of sufficiently high atomic number is required to maintain the injection of ionization electrons at the peak intensity of the pulse when the DLA channel is already formed. We demonstrate experimentally and numerically that, when the atomic number is too low, the target is depleted of its ionization electrons prematurely. Applying this understanding to multi-petawatt laser experiments is expected to result in increased neutron yields, a perquisite for a wide range of research and applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereadk1947
JournalScience advances
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2024


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