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Lindner, Florian H.; Fitzpatrick, E. G.; Haffa, D.; Ponnath, L.; Schmidt, A.-K.; Speicher, M.; Zielbauer, B.; Schreiber, J.; Thirolf, P. G. (2022): Charge-state resolved laser acceleration of gold ions to beyond 7 MeV/u. Scientific Reports, 12: 4784. ISSN 2045-2322

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In the past years, the interest in the laser-driven acceleration of heavy ions in the mass range of $$\text {A}\approx 200$$ A ≈ 200 has been increasing due to promising application ideas like the fission-fusion nuclear reaction mechanism, aiming at the production of neutron-rich isotopes relevant for the astrophysical r -process nucleosynthesis. In this paper, we report on the laser acceleration of gold ions to beyond 7 MeV/u, exceeding for the first time an important prerequisite for this nuclear reaction scheme. Moreover, the gold ion charge states have been detected with an unprecedented resolution, which enables the separation of individual charge states up to 4 MeV/u. The recorded charge-state distributions show a remarkable dependency on the target foil thickness and differ from simulations, lacking a straight-forward explanation by the established ionization models.

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