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LPA Online Seminars

Ultra-high charge beams from a laser wakefield accelerator driven by a petawatt laser

by Prof. Dino Jaroszynski (Strathclyde)


Over the past three decades significant progress has been made in developing laser wakefield accelerators (LWFAs), which can now produce femtosecond duration electrons bunches with pC-level charge, 10 MeV - 10 GeV energies and kilo-ampere peak beam current.  However, in addition to the high-energy, low-divergence electron beam emitted in the direction of laser propagation, a wide-angled beam is produced by the electrostatic forces by a “sling-shot” action that ejects a portion of the electrons forming the sheath of the accelerating structure. These wide-angle electron bunches can have high charge and carry away a significant portion of the laser pulse energy deposited in the plasma. Here I will discuss  measurements of these side electron beams, which have unprecedented high charge and energies in the MeV range, produced by a 17 J, PW laser (at CLPU in Salamanca), with high efficiency. I will present evidence of filamentation instability that occurs in the sheath current of the LWFA. The ultra-high charge beams with kA peak currents are produced with high efficiency. This makes them suitable for pulsed radiolysis, imaging and material processing. The interacting converging/diverging beams provide an interesting model system for studying astrophysical phenomena in the laboratory.