The acceleration of protons in plasma produced from thin mylar (3.5 μm) and aluminum (2 μm) targets by a 45-fs laser pulses with the energy of 400 mJ and the intensity of up to 1019 W/cm2 was investigated. Characteristics of forward-accelerated protons were measured by the time-of-flight method. In the measurements, special attention was paid to the dependence of proton beam parameters on the laser focus position (FP) in relation to the target surface which resulted in the intensity change within a factor of ∼ 10. It was observed that in the case of using the Mylar target, the dependence of both the maximum (Epmax) and the mean ('Ep') proton energy on |Δx| is clearly non-symmetric with regard to the point where FP = 0 (the focal plane on the target surface) and highest proton energies are achieved when the focal plane is situated in front of the target. In particular, for the target with the thickness of 3.5 μm Epmax reached 2.2 MeV for FP = +50 μm while for FP = 0 and FP = -100 μm the maximum proton energies reached only 1.6 MeV and 1.3MeV, respectively. For the aluminum target of 2 μm thickness Ep changed only within ∼ 40% and the highest proton energies reached 2.4 MeV.
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