K. Weichman, J. J. Santos, S. Fujioka, T. Toncian, and A. Arefiev, "Generation of focusing ion beams by magnetized electron sheath acceleration", Scientific Reports 10, 18966 (2020).
We present the first 3D fully kinetic simulations of laser driven sheath-based ion acceleration with a kilotesla-level applied magnetic field. The application of a strong magnetic field significantly and beneficially alters sheath based ion acceleration and creates two distinct stages in the acceleration process associated with the time-evolving magnetization of the hot electron sheath. The first stage delivers dramatically enhanced acceleration, and the second reverses the typical outward-directed topology of the sheath electric field into a focusing configuration. The net result is a focusing, magnetic field-directed ion source of multiple species with strongly enhanced energy and number. The predicted improvements in ion source characteristics are desirable for applications and suggest a route to experimentally confirm magnetization-related effects in the high energy density regime. We additionally perform a comparison between 2D and 3D simulation geometry, on which basis we predict the feasibility of observing magnetic field effects under experimentally relevant conditions.