The interaction of intense subpicosecond laser pulses with solid targets is of interest for the study of high density plasmas and the production of short pulse x-ray sources. When an intense laser is focused onto the surface of a solid, a high temperature plasma is produced. If the laser pulse is short, the energy can be absorbed by the electrons in an optical skin depth, leading to rapid ionization before significant ablation of the solid occurs. Rapid cooling of hot electrons is expected due to thermal conduction into the underlying cold material, electron energy loss to ions, and expansion.

© 1989 Optical Society of America

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