Skip to main content
Numerical modelling of a 10-cm-long multi-GeV laser wakefield accelerator driven by a self-guided petawatt pulse
New Journal of Physics (2010)
  • Serguei Y. Kalmykov
  • Sunghwan A. Yi
  • Arnaud Beck
  • Agustin F. Lifschitz
  • Xavier Davoine
  • Erik Lefebvre
  • Alexander Pukhov
  • Vladimir N. Khudik
  • Gennady Shvets
  • Steven A. Reed
  • Peng Dong
  • Xiaoming Wang
  • Dongsu Du
  • Stefan Bedacht
  • Rafal B. Zgadzaj
  • Watson Henderson
  • Aaron Bernstein
  • Gilliss Dyer
  • Mikael Martinez
  • Erhard Gaul
  • Todd Ditmire
  • Michael C. Downer
The use of a short-pulse petawatt (PW) laser (sub-200 fs duration, ~ 1 micron wavelength) enables experimental realization of a self-guided, multicentimetre-long multi-GeV laser wakefield electron accelerator. A comprehensive set of numerical simulations showed that a 150 fs, 1.33 PW pulse is self- guided over 10 cm of a static filling gaseous plasma of density 1–3 x 10^{17} cm^{−3} and is stable against relativistic filamentation. A fully broken electromagnetic wake (electron density ‘bubble’) is excited over the entire interaction length. Variations of bubble size and shape associated with nonlinear evolution of the driving pulse result in self-injection of background plasma electrons. Self-injection begins immediately after the first nonlinear laser focus, where pulse de-focusing forces the bubble to grow. Injection continues without interruption while the bubble expands, and ceases when the laser becomes self-guided and bubble evolution stabilizes. Self-injected electrons are accelerated to ~ 7 GeV energy with less than 10-percent energy spread and ~ 1.3 nC charge. Numerical modelling of the laser pulse dynamics over the entire plasma length is carried out using a time-averaged, fully relativistic, quasi-static three- dimensional (3D) axi-symmetric particle-in-cell (PIC) code, WAKE. The process of electron self-injection is explored by means of both test-particle modelling (WAKE) and 3D PIC simulations using the recently developed CALDER-Circ code in quasi-cylindrical geometry.
  • Laser wakefielf acceleration,
  • blowout regime,
  • GeV electrons from laser plasmas,
  • Texas Petawatt,
  • particle-in-cell simulations
Publication Date
Spring April 30, 2010
Citation Information
Serguei Y. Kalmykov, Sunghwan A. Yi, Arnaud Beck, Agustin F. Lifschitz, et al.. "Numerical modelling of a 10-cm-long multi-GeV laser wakefield accelerator driven by a self-guided petawatt pulse" New Journal of Physics Vol. 12 (2010) p. 045019 ISSN: 1367-2630
Available at: