The past few years have seen remarkable progress in the development of laser-based particle accelerators. The ability to produce ultrabright beams of multi-megaelectronvolt protons routinely has many potential uses from engineering to medicine, but for this potential to be realized substantial improvements in the performances of these devices must be made. Here we show that in the laser-driven accelerator that has been demonstrated experimentally to produce the highest energy protons, scaling laws derived from fluid models and supported by numerical simulations can be used to accurately describe the acceleration of proton beams for a large range of laser and target parameters. This enables us to evaluate the laser parameters needed to produce high-energy and high-quality proton beams of interest for radiography of dense objects or proton therapy of deep-seated tumours.
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We acknowledge the expert support of the LULI and Atlas laser teams and useful discussion with T. Cowan, A. Kemp and Y. Sentoku. This work was supported by DAAD, grant E1127 from Région Ile-de-France, the EU programme HPRI CT 1999-0052, and UNR grant DE-FC08-01NV14050.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Fuchs, J., Antici, P., d’Humières, E. et al. Laser-driven proton scaling laws and new paths towards energy increase. Nature Phys 2, 48–54 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys199
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