Indexed on: 14 Mar '03Published on: 14 Mar '03Published in: Physical review letters
Measurements of energetic proton production resulting from the interaction of high-intensity laser pulses with foil targets are described. Through the use of layered foil targets and heating of the target material we are able to distinguish three distinct populations of protons. One high energy population is associated with a proton source near the front surface of the target and is observed to be emitted with a characteristic ring structure. A source of typically lower energy, lower divergence protons originates from the rear surface of the target. Finally, a qualitatively separate source of even lower energy protons and ions is observed with a large divergence. Acceleration mechanisms for these separate sources are discussed.