Bright betatron x-ray radiation from a laser-driven-clustering gas target

Chen, L.M. and Yan, W. C. and Li, D. Z. and Hu, Z. D. and Zhang, L. and Wang, W.M. and Hafz, N. and Mao, J.Y. and Huang, K. and Ma, Y. and Zhao, J. R. and Ma, J.L. and Li, Y. T. and Lu, X. and Sheng, Zheng-Ming and Wei, Z.Y. and Gao, J. and Zhang, J. (2013) Bright betatron x-ray radiation from a laser-driven-clustering gas target. Scientific Reports, 3. 1912. ISSN 2045-2322 (

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Hard X-ray sources from femtosecond (fs) laser-produced plasmas, including the betatron X-rays from laser wakefield-accelerated electrons, have compact sizes, fs pulse duration and fs pump-probe capability, making it promising for wide use in material and biological sciences. Currently the main problem with such betatron X-ray sources is the limited average flux even with ultra-intense laser pulses. Here, we report ultra-bright betatron X-rays can be generated using a clustering gas jet target irradiated with a small size laser, where a ten-fold enhancement of the X-ray yield is achieved compared to the results obtained using a gas target. We suggest the increased X-ray photon is due to the existence of clusters in the gas, which results in increased total electron charge trapped for acceleration and larger wiggling amplitudes during the acceleration. This observation opens a route to produce high betatron average flux using small but high repetition rate laser facilities for applications.