Indexed on: 04 Aug '15Published on: 04 Aug '15Published in: The Review of scientific instruments
A spark discharge is coupled to a laser multicharged ion source to enhance ion generation. The laser plasma triggers a spark discharge with electrodes located in front of the ablated target. For an aluminum target, the spark discharge results in significant enhancement in the generation of multicharged ions along with higher charge states than observed with the laser source alone. When a Nd:YAG laser pulse (wavelength 1064 nm, pulse width 7.4 ns, pulse energy 72 mJ, laser spot area on target 0.0024 cm(2)) is used, the total multicharged ions detected by a Faraday cup is 1.0 nC with charge state up to Al(3+). When the spark amplification stage is used (0.1 μF capacitor charged to 5.0 kV), the total charge measured increases by a factor of ∼9 with up to Al(6+) charge observed. Using laser pulse energy of 45 mJ, charge amplification by a factor of ∼13 was observed for a capacitor voltage of 4.5 kV. The spark discharge increases the multicharged ion generation without increasing target ablation, which solely results from the laser pulse. This allows for increased multicharged ion generation with relatively low laser energy pulses and less damage to the surface of the target.