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Prasselsperger, A.; Coughlan, M.; Breslin, N.; Yeung, M.; Arthur, C.; Donnelly, H.; White, S.; Afshari, M.; Speicher, M.; Yang, R.; Villagomez-Bernabe, B.; Currell, F. J.; Schreiber, J. and Dromey, B. (2021): Real-Time Electron Solvation Induced by Bursts of Laser-Accelerated Protons in Liquid Water. In: Physical Review Letters, Vol. 127, No. 18, 186001

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Understanding the mechanisms of proton energy deposition in matter and subsequent damage formation is fundamental to radiation science. Here we exploit the picosecond (10(-12) s) resolution of laser-driven accelerators to track ultrafast solvation dynamics for electrons due to proton radiolysis in liquid water (H2O). Comparing these results with modeling that assumes initial conditions similar to those found in photolysis reveals that solvation time due to protons is extended by > 20 ps. Supported by magneto-hydrodynamic theory this indicates a highly dynamic phase in the immediate aftermath of the proton interaction that is not accounted for in current models.

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