T. Ceccotti, V. Floquet, A. Sgattoni, A. Bigongiari, O. Klimo, M. Raynaud, C. Riconda, A. Heron, F. Baffigi, L. Labate, L. A. Gizzi, L. Vassura, J. Fuchs, M. Passoni, M. Kveton, F. Novotny, M. Possolt, J. Prokupek, J. Proska, J. Psikal, L. Stolcova, A. Velyhan, M. Bougeard, P. D’Oliveira, O. Tcherbakoff, F. Reau, P. Martin, A. Macchi
The interaction of laser pulses with thin grating targets, having a periodic groove at the irradiated surface, is experimentally investigated. Ultrahigh contrast (similar to 10(12)) pulses allow us to demonstrate an enhanced laser-target coupling for the first time in the relativistic regime of ultrahigh intensity >10(19) W/cm(2). A maximum increase by a factor of 2.5 of the cutoff energy of protons produced by target normal sheath acceleration is observed with respect to plane targets, around the incidence angle expected for the resonant excitation of surface waves. A significant enhancement is also observed for small angles of incidence, out of resonance.
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