Basic properties of high‐current high‐intensity ion beam generation using laser‐induced skin‐layer ponderomotive acceleration (SLPA) are discussed. The results of a recent experiment, in which 0.35‐ps laser pulse of intensity up to 2×1019W/cm2 irradiated a thin (1–3 μm) PS (plastic) or Au/PS target (PS covered by 0.1–0.2 μm Au front layer), are presented. It is shown that multi‐MA proton beams of current densities >1 TA/cm2 and intensities > 1018W/cm2 at the source can be produced when the laser‐target interaction conditions approach the SLPA requirements. The proton beam parameters as well as the laser‐protons energy conversion efficiency substantially depend on the target structure and can be significantly increased with the use of a double‐layer Au/PS target. A prospect for the application of SLPA‐driven proton beams in ICF fast ignition research is outlined.

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