Focal-shape effects on the efficiency of the tunnel-ionization probe for extreme laser intensities

M. F. Ciappina, E. E. Peganov, S. V. Popruzhenko*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We examine the effect of laser focusing on the effectiveness of a recently discussed scheme [M. F. Ciappina et al., Phys. Rev. A 99, 043405 (2019) and M. F. Ciappina and S. V. Popruzhenko, Laser Phys. Lett. 17, 025301 (2020)] for in situ determination of ultrahigh intensities of electromagnetic radiation delivered by multi-petawatt laser facilities. Using two model intensity distributions in the focus of a laser beam, we show how the resulting yields of highly charged ions generated in the process of multiple sequential tunneling of electrons from atoms depend on the shapes of these distributions. Our findings lead to the conclusion that an accurate extraction of the peak laser intensity can be made either in the near-threshold regime, when the production of the highest charge state happens only in a small part of the laser focus close to the point where the intensity is maximal or through the determination of the points where the ion yields of close charges become equal. We show that for realistic parameters of the gas target, the number of ions generated in the central part of the focus in the threshold regime should be sufficient for a reliable measurement with highly sensitive time-of-flight detectors. Although the positions of the intersection points generally depend on the focal shape, they can be used to localize the peak intensity value in certain intervals. Finally, the slope of the intensity-dependent ion yields is shown to be robust with respect to both the focal spot size and the spatial distribution of the laser intensity in the focus. When these slopes can be measured, they will provide the most accurate determination of the peak intensity value within the considered tunnel ionization scheme. In addition to this analysis, we discuss the method in comparison with other recently proposed approaches for direct measurement of extreme laser intensities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number044401
JournalMatter and Radiation at Extremes
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes


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