Few-cycle laser-driven electron acceleration

Schmid, K. and Veisz, L. and Tavella, F. and Benavides, S. and Tautz, R. and Herrmann, D. and Buck, A. and Hidding, B. and Marcinkevicius, A. and Schramm, U. and Geissler, M. and Meyer-ter-Vehn, J. and Habs, D. and Krausz, F. (2009) Few-cycle laser-driven electron acceleration. Physical Review Letters, 102 (12). 124801. ISSN 0031-9007

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We report on an electron accelerator based on few-cycle (8 fs full width at half maximum) laser pulses, with only 40 mJ energy per pulse, which constitutes a previously unexplored parameter range in laser-driven electron acceleration. The produced electron spectra are monoenergetic in the tens-of-MeV range and virtually free of low-energy electrons with thermal spectrum. The electron beam has a typical divergence of 5-10 mrad. The accelerator is routinely operated at 10 Hz and constitutes a promising source for several applications. Scalability of the few-cycle driver in repetition rate and energy implies that the present work also represents a step towards user friendly laser-based accelerators.