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Relativistic Interaction of Long-Wavelength Ultrashort Laser Pulses with Nanowires


We report on experimental results in a new regime of relativistic light-matter interaction employing midinfrared (3.9−μm wavelength) high-intensity femtosecond laser pulses. In the laser-generated plasma, electrons reach relativistic energies already for rather low intensities due to the fortunate λ2 scaling of the kinetic energy with the laser wavelength. The lower intensity efficiently suppresses optical field ionization and creation of the preplasma at the rising edge of the laser pulse, enabling an enhanced efficient vacuum heating of the plasma. The lower critical plasma density for long-wavelength radiation can be surmounted by using nanowires instead of flat targets. Numerical simulations, which are in a good agreement with experimental results, suggest that ≈80% of the incident laser energy has been absorbed resulting in a long-living, keV-temperature, high-charge-state plasma with a density more than 3 orders of magnitude above the critical value. Our results pave the way to laser-driven experiments on laboratory astrophysics and nuclear physics at a high repetition rate.

Zhanna Samsonova, Sebastian Höfer, Vural Kaymak, Skirmantas Ališauskas, Valentina Shumakova, Audrius Pugžlys, Andrius Baltuška, Thomas Siefke, Stefanie Kroker, Alexander Pukhov, Olga Rosmej, Ingo Uschmann, Christian Spielmann, and Daniil Kartashov

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevX.9.021029