PLASM-IN-SILICO: HPC Modeling of High-Intensity Laser-Solid Interaction

PI Jean-Luc Vay, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Interaction between an ultra-high intensity and a plasma mirror

Interaction between an ultra-high intensity (>100TW) laser (dark blue grey/magenta) and a “plasma mirror” (grey): (top-left) incident laser propagatingtoward the plasma target; (center) non-linear reflection of the laser on the plasma mirror; (top-right) electric field after reflection on the plasma mirror. Thenon-linear reflection leads to a periodic distortion of the reflected field along with emission of relativistic electron bunches (white); The periodic distortion ofthe reflected field is associated to a bright harmonic spectrum corresponding to a train of attosecond (1as=1e-18s) pulses in the time domain (yellow). Image creditGuillaume Blaclard, CEA Saclay(France)/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Relativistic plasma mirrors (PM), produced when a high-power laser hits a solid target, can provide very promising compact sources of relativistic electron, ions, and very intense extreme ultraviolet Doppler harmonic light sources.

This project aims to show, in silico and using massively parallel pseudo-spectral particle-in- cell (PIC) simulations, that such PMs can provide a simple and common elegant solution to three long-standing challenges of ultrahigh-intensity (UHI) physics.

These three challenges are: (1) Can we produce high-charge compact electron accelerators with high beam quality that will be essential to push forward the horizons of high energy science? (2) Can we produce efficient and very compact high-energy ion accelerators to democratize cancer hadron-therapy? (3) Can we reach extreme light intensities approaching the Schwinger limit of approximately 1029W·cm^-2, beyond which light self-focuses in vacuum and electron-positrons pairs are produced?