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              Scientists Generate Energetic Hollow Proton Beams by Highest-intensity Vortex Tweezer

              Jul 22, 2020

              A research team led by Prof.WANG Wenpeng from the Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics (SIOM) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences produced the highest-intensity vortex laser in the world and realized the hollow proton beam acceleration in experiments. Their study was published in Physical Review Letters.

              Vortex light, such as Laguerre-Gaussian (LG) light, has a hollow-structure intensity distribution. It can be applied to manipulate micrometer-scale matter as a special tweezer.

              Nowadays, the laser intensity can significantly exceed 1018 W/cm2 with the development of chirped pulse amplification technology, which allows the previously weak LG light to be possibly turned into relativistic LG laser (> 1018 W/cm2).

              In their experiment, the researchers applied a high-reflectivity phase mirror in the femtosecond petawatt laser system to generate a relativistic hollow laser at the highest intensity of 6.3×1019 W/cm2 for the first time. This addressed the present difficulty in experimentally generating relativistic LG laser, primarily due to the damage caused to optical modulators.

              A simple optical model was used to verify that the vortex laser may be generated in this new scheme; using such a relativistic vortex laser, the hollow plasma drill and acceleration were achieved experimentally and proven by the particle in cell simulations.

              With the development of the petawatt laser, this scheme opens up possibilities for the convenient production of the relativistic hollow laser at high repetition and possible hollow plasma acceleration. It is important for a wide range of applications such as the generation of radiation sources with orbital angular momentum, fast ignition for inertial confinement fusion, and jet research in the astrophysical environment.

              This project was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Key Research Programs in Frontier Science, and Shanghai special science and technology innovation supported project.

              Experimental setup (Image by SIOM)

              Hollow Plasma Acceleration Driven by a Relativistic Reflected Hollow Laser

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