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Bin, J. H.; Yeung, M.; Gong, Z.; Wang, H. Y.; Kreuzer, C.; Zhou, M. L.; Streeter, M. J. V.; Foster, P. S.; Cousens, S.; Dromey, B.; Meyer-ter-Vehn, J.; Zepf, M.; Schreiber, J. (2018): Enhanced Laser-Driven Ion Acceleration by Superponderomotive Electrons Generated from Near-Critical-Density Plasma. In: Physical Review Letters, Vol. 120, No. 7, 74801
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Abstract

We report on the experimental studies of laser driven ion acceleration from a double-layer target where a near-critical density target with a few-micron thickness is coated in front of a nanometer-thin diamondlike carbon foil. A significant enhancement of proton maximum energies from 12 to similar to 30 MeV is observed when a relativistic laser pulse impinges on the double-layer target under linear polarization. We attributed the enhanced acceleration to superponderomotive electrons that were simultaneously measured in the experiments with energies far beyond the free-electron ponderomotive limit. Our interpretation is supported by two-dimensional simulation results.