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Dark-current-free petawatt laser-driven wakefield accelerator based on electron self-injection into an expanding plasma bubble
Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion (2011)
  • Serguei Y. Kalmykov
  • Sunghwan A. Yi
  • Arnaud Beck
  • Agustin F. Lifschitz
  • Xavier Davoine
  • Erik Lefebvre
  • Vladimir N. Khudik
  • Gennady Shvets
  • Michael C. Downer

A dark-current-free plasma accelerator driven by a short (~ 150 fs) self-guided petawatt laser pulse is proposed. The accelerator uses two plasma layers, one of which, short and dense, acts as a thin nonlinear lens. It is followed by a long rarefied plasma (~ 10^{17} electrons cm^{−3}) in which background electrons are trapped and accelerated by a nonlinear laser wakefield. The pulse overfocused by the plasma lens diffracts in low-density plasma as in vacuum and drives in its wake a rapidly expanding electron density bubble. The expanding bubble effectively traps initially quiescent electrons. The trapped charge given by quasi-cylindrical three-dimensional particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations (using the CALDER-Circ code) is ~ 1.3 nC. When laser diffraction saturates and self-guiding begins, the bubble transforms into a bucket of a weakly nonlinear non-broken plasma wave. Self-injection thus never resumes, and the structure remains free of dark current. The CALDER-Circ modelling predicts a sub-10 mm mrad normalized transverse emittance of electron beam accelerated in the first wake bucket. Test-particle modelling of electron acceleration over 9 cm (using the quasistatic PIC codeWAKE) sets the upper limit of energy gain 2.6 GeV with ~ 2 percent relative spread.

  • Laser wakefield acceleration,
  • blowout regime,
  • electron self-injection into expanding bubble,
  • relativistic self-focusing,
  • nonlinear plasma lens,
  • thin plasma lens,
  • particle-in-cell simulations
Publication Date
Winter January, 2011
Citation Information
Serguei Y. Kalmykov, Sunghwan A. Yi, Arnaud Beck, Agustin F. Lifschitz, et al.. "Dark-current-free petawatt laser-driven wakefield accelerator based on electron self-injection into an expanding plasma bubble" Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion Vol. 53 (2011)
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