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The ALPHA-X beam line : towards a compact FEL

Anania, Maria Pia and Brunetti, Enrico and Cipiccia, Silvia and Clark, David and Issac, Riju and Manahan, Grace and McCanny, Thomas and Reitsma, Albert and Shanks, Richard and Welsh, Gregor H. and Wiggins, Mark and Jaroszynski, Dino and van der Geer, S. B. and de Loos, M. J. and Poole, M.W. and Clarke, J. A. and Shepherd, B. J. A. (2010) The ALPHA-X beam line : towards a compact FEL. In: IPAC 2010 contributions to the proceedings. IPAC/ACFA, pp. 2263-2265. ISBN 9789290833529

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Recent progress in developing laser-plasma accelerators is raising the possibility of a compact coherent radiation source that could be housed in a medium sized university department. Furthermore, since the duration of electron bunches from laser-plasma wakefield accelerators (LWFAs) is determined by the relativistic plasma wavelength, radiation sources based on these accelerators can produce pulses with femtosecond durations. Beam properties from laser-plasma accelerators have been traditionally thought of as not being of sufficient quality to produce amplification. However, our work shows this not to be the case. Here, we present a study of the beam characteristics of a laser-plasma accelerator and the compact ALPHA-X (Advanced Laser Plasma Highenergy Accelerators towards X-rays) FEL. We discuss the implementation of a focussing system consisting of a triplet of permanent magnet quadrupoles and a triplet of electromagnetic quadrupoles [1, 2]. The design of these devices has been carried out using the GPT (General Particle Tracer) code [3, 4], which considers space charge effects and allows a realistic estimate of electron beam properties along the beam line. We will present a study of the influence of beam transport on FEL action in the undulator, paying particular attention to bunch dispersion in the undulator. This is an important step for developing a compact synchrotron source or a SASE free-electron laser [5, 6].