Introduction to superintense laser-driven ion acceleration

The development of novel laser systems able to deliver pulses with extremely high powers and extremely short durations gave rise to a completely novel approach for charged particle acceleration. Upon the interaction between such laser pulses and solid matter, the strongest electric fields ever generated in a laboratory (thousands of billions of volts per meter) can be produced, ultimately leading to the acceleration of charged particle – in particular protons and other ions- with high energies up to the tens MeV, over very short distances. In this series of lecturers, the physics behind laser-driven ion acceleration will be presented, starting from the simplest concepts and then covering experimental observations, modeling approaches, and also overview more recent developments and foreseen applications.