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Numerical simulation of plasma-based raman amplification of laser pulses to petawatt powers

Trines, Raoul M. G. M. and Fiuza, Frederico and Fonseca, Ricardo A. and Silva, Luis O. and Bingham, Robert and Cairns, R. Alan and Norreys, Peter A. (2011) Numerical simulation of plasma-based raman amplification of laser pulses to petawatt powers. IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, 39 (11 spe). pp. 2622-2623. ISSN 0093-3813

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Contemporary high-power laser systems make use of solid-state laser technology to reach petawatt pulse powers. The breakdown threshold for optical components in these systems, however, demands beam diameters up to 1 m. Raman amplification of laser beams promises a breakthrough by the use of much smaller amplifying media, i.e., millimeter-diameter-wide plasmas. Through the first large-scale multidimensional particle-in-cell simulations of this process, we have identified the parameter regime where multipetawatt peak laser powers can be reached, while the influence of damaging laser-plasma instabilities is only minor. Snapshots of the probe laser pulse being amplified, generated using state-of-the-art visualization techniques, are presented.