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Electron Acceleration

An intense laser pulse propagating through a tenuous plasma medium produces - analoguous to a boat on the water - a travelling plasma wave in its wake. This "wakefield" exhibits strong quasistatic longitudinal (and transverse) field components, and electrons with some initial energy can "surf" on the wake and gain energy. The fields can achieve many orders of magnitude higher values than in conventional RF accelerators, affording a strong reduction in accelerator size and significantly higher beams densities. In order to turn that basic principle into a practical accelerator, the follwing stages in the process are studied in detail:

  • generation and diagnostics of laser-driven wakefield in plasmas
  • injection of electrons into the wakefield and acceleration dynamics
  • extraction of accelerated bunches from the plasma

All these stages have to work together reproducibly to generate electron beams with truly novel properties suitable for driving a brilliant X-ray source.

Research coordinator: Stefan Karsch

Selected Publications

  • Physics of High-Charge Electron Beams in Laser-Plasma Wakefields, J. Götzfried et al., Physical Review X 10 (4), 041015 (2020)
  • Nonlinear plasma wavelength scalings in a laser wakefield accelerator, H. Ding et al., Physical Review E 101 (2), 023209 (2020)
  • Dual-energy electron beams from a compact laser-driven accelerator, J. Wenz et al., Nature Photonics 13 (4), 263-269 (2019)
  • Shock-Front Injector for High-Quality Laser-Plasma Acceleration, A, Buck et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 185006 (2013)
  • Generation of stable, low-divergence electron beams by laser-wakefield acceleration in a steady-state-flow gas cell, J. Osterhoff et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 101, 085002 (2008)
  • GeV-scale electron acceleration in a gas-filled capillary discharge waveguide, S. Karsch et al. New Journal of Physics 9, 415 (2007)