Terahertz-driven ion acceleration by Coulomb explosion

Dr. Szabolcs Turnár1,2, Prof. László Pálfalvi1,2, Dr. Zoltán Tibai2, Prof. János Hebling2,3
1HUN-REN-PTE High-Field Terahertz Research Group, Pécs, Hungary. 2Institute of Physics, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary. 3Szentágothai Research Centre, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary


This study investigates laser-driven ion acceleration through Coulomb explosion acceleration (CEA) in gas plasma, focusing on a deuterium gas jet setup. Numerical simulations reveal that applying single-cycle terahertz pulses generates standing waves, leading to efficient electron stripping and subsequent ion-bunch explosion. The substantial mass difference between electrons and deuterons results in high electron velocity gain, reaching relativistic energy levels. By utilizing two pairs of 0.3 THz pulses with a peak electric field of 15 MV/cm, the simulations demonstrate the feasibility of generating deuterons with sub-MeV energy and a charge of 1.8 nC. This work presents a novel approach for efficient ion acceleration with potential applications in neutron generation.