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Liu, B.; Meyer-ter-Vehn, J.; Ruhl, H. (2018): Self-trapping and acceleration of ions in laser-driven relativistically transparent plasma. In: Physics of Plasmas, Vol. 25, No. 10, 103117
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Abstract

Self-trapping and acceleration of ions in laser-driven relativistically transparent plasma are investigated with the help of particle-in-cell simulations. A theoretical model based on ion wave breaking is established in describing ion evolution and ion trapping. The threshold for ion trapping is identified. Near the threshold ion trapping is self-regulating and stops when the number of trapped ions is large enough. The model is applied to ion trapping in three-dimensional geometry. Longitudinal distributions of ions and the electric field near the wave breaking point are derived analytically in terms of power-law scalings. The areal density of trapped charge is obtained as a function of the strength of ion wave breaking, which scales with target density for fixed laser intensity. The results of the model are confirmed by the simulations.