Multi-MeV beams of light ions have been produced using the 300 picosecond, kJ-class iodine laser, operating at the Prague Asterix Laser System facility in Prague. Real-time ion diagnostics have been performed by the use of various time-of-flight (TOF) detectors: ion collectors (ICs) with and without absorber thin films, new prototypes of single-crystal diamond and silicon carbide detectors, and an electrostatic ion mass spectrometer (IEA). In order to suppress the long photopeak induced by soft X-rays and to avoid the overlap with the signal from ultrafast particles, the ICs have been shielded with Al foil filters. The application of large-bandgap semiconductor detectors (>3 eV) ensured cutting of the plasma-emitted visible and soft-UV radiation and enhancing the sensitivity to the very fast proton/ion beams. Employing the IEA spectrometer, various ion species and charge states in the expanding laser-plasma have been determined. Processing of the experimental data based on the TOF technique, including estimation of the plasma fast proton maximum and peak energy, ion beam currents and total charge, total number of fast protons, as well as deconvolution processes, ion stopping power, and ion/photon transmission calculations for the different metallic filters used, are reported. (C) 2011 American Institute of Physics. [doi:10.1063/1.3585871]
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