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Dark-current-free petawatt laser-driven wakefield accelerator based on electron self-injection into an expanding plasma bubble

Abstract : 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 (~1017 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 few π 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 code WAKE) sets the upper limit of energy gain 2.6 GeV with ~2% relative spread.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01164312
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Submitted on : Tuesday, June 16, 2015 - 3:39:05 PM
Last modification on : Friday, December 3, 2021 - 4:04:10 PM

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S Y Kalmykov, S A Yi, Alexandre Beck, a F Lifschitz, X Davoine, 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, IOP Publishing, 2011, 53 (1), pp.014006. ⟨10.1088/0741-3335/53/1/014006⟩. ⟨hal-01164312⟩

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