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Observation of longitudinal and transverse self-injections in laser-plasma accelerators

Abstract : Laser-plasma accelerators can produce high quality electron beams, up to giga-electronvolts in energy, from a centimeter scale device. The properties of the electron beams and the accelerator stability are largely determined by the injection stage of electrons into the accelerator. The simplest mechanism of injection is self-injection, in which the wakefield is strong enough to trap cold plasma electrons into the laser wake. The main drawback of this method is its lack of shot-to-shot stability. Here we present experimental and numerical results that demonstrate the existence of two different self-injection mechanisms. Transverse self-injection is shown to lead to low stability and poor quality electron beams, because of a strong dependence on the intensity profile of the laser pulse. In contrast, longitudinal injection, which is unambiguously observed for the first time, is shown to lead to much more stable acceleration and higher quality electron beams.
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Sébastien Corde, Cédric Thaury, Agustin Lifschitz, Guillaume Lambert, Kim Ta Phuoc, et al.. Observation of longitudinal and transverse self-injections in laser-plasma accelerators. Nature Communications, Nature Publishing Group, 2013, 4, pp.1501. ⟨10.1038/ncomms2528⟩. ⟨hal-01164024⟩

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