David Carroll (STFC): An overview of the Central Laser Facility and an experiment looking at the effect of material structure on laser-driven relativistic electron currents.
The Central Laser Facility (CLF) based at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is one of the world’s leading laser facilities. These facilities are available to scientists from the UK and Europe to perform a wide range of experiments in the areas of physics, chemistry and biology. These include studying biochemical and biophysical processes, probing chemical reactions on the shortest timescales and accelerating subatomic particles to high energies.
The physics of the transport of laser driven large currents of fast, relativistic electrons in dense matter underpins many topics in high intensity laser-solid interactions including warm dense matter and ion acceleration. When these large laser driven currents reach the rear surface of a foil target large electric fields in the TV/m range are established. These large fields ionise and accelerate ions, principally protons, from the rear surface of the foil. The spatial structure imprinted into the proton beam profile accelerated by these currents can be used to infer the effect of the initial foil material lattice structure on these laser driven currents.
An overview of the CLF is presented along with results from an experiment diagnosing the effects of sample material lattice structure on the electron currents driven through the sample by a high intensity high power laser.