Numerical modeling of fast electron generation in the presence of preformed plasma in laser-matter interaction at relativistic intensities
Fast electron generation in the presence of coronal plasma in front of a solid target (typically referred to as preformed plasma) in laser-matter interaction in the intensity range of 1019–1021 W/cm2 is studied in a one-dimensional slab approximation with particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations. Three different preformed plasma density scale lengths of 1, 5, and 15 μm are considered. We report an increase in both mean and maximum energy of generated fast electrons with an increase in the preformed plasma scale length (in the range 1–15 μm). The heating of plasma electrons is predominantly due to their stochastic motion in counterpropagating electromagnetic (EM) waves (incident and reflected waves) and the presence of a longitudinal electric field produced self-consistently inside the preformed plasma. The synergetic effects of this longitudinal electric field and EM waves responsible for the efficient preformed plasma electrons heating are discussed.