Ion energetics in electron-rich nanoplasmas

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Based on trajectory calculations of xenon clusters up to ≈ 6000 atoms irradiated by laser pulses (peak intensities I M = 10 14-10 16Wcm -2, Gaussian pulse lengths τ = 10-230 fs and frequency 0.35 fs -1), we have analyzed the interrelation between outer ionization and ion kinetic energies. The following three main categories have been identified. (A) For short pulses (τ = 10 fs) of higher intensity I M = 10 16Wcm -2, the outer ionization level leads to a sufficiently high positive cluster charge, which confines the remaining nanoplasma electrons to the cluster center. In this case, ion energies can be reasonably well accounted for by a multi-charge state lychee model, according to which outer ionization is vertical and the nanoplasma can be described by a non-expanding neutral cluster interior, causing a zero-energy component in the ion kinetic energy distribution and an expanding electron-free cluster periphery. (B) For a very low outer ionization level, which is realized for short pulses of low intensity (I M = 10 14Wcm -2) and/or large clusters, a slow gradual evaporation of nanoplasma electrons under laser-free conditions on the picosecond time scale is observed, making the entire outer ionization process highly non-vertical despite the short laser pulse. Accordingly, ions are accelerated only by a gradual buildup of the total cluster charge. (C) For long pulses (τ = 230 fs), the cluster expansion during the laser pulse is large and outer ionization is non-vertical. The nanoplasma electrons attain high kinetic energies by resonance heating and are distributed over the entire ion framework without a neutral cluster interior. Consequently, a zero-energy component in the ion energy distribution is missing. © IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.




Heidenreich, A., Infante, I., & Ugalde, J. M. (2012). Ion energetics in electron-rich nanoplasmas. New Journal of Physics, 14.

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