Generation of focusing ion beams by magnetized electron sheath acceleration

Publication type

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.