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Developments in relativistic plasma wave acceleration of particles

Bingham, R (1998) Developments in relativistic plasma wave acceleration of particles. Physica Scripta, 1998 (T75). pp. 125-128. ISSN 0031-8949

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Particle acceleration by relativistic electron plasma waves generated by intense lasers has been demonstrated in a number of experiments by various mechanisms. Accelerating fields as high as 1 GeV/cm, with electrons accelerated to about 100 MeV in millimetre distances have been achieved. These fields produced by intense lasers in plasmas are the largest ever produced in laboratory experiments. The first experiments are very much "first generation" laser plasma accelerator experiments and are concerned with demonstrating proof-of-principle acceleration in relativistic plasma waves. Attention is now being focussed on other important aspects of plasma accelerators such as beam current and beam quality and not just accelerating gradients. Recent experimental, theoretical and simulation results together with an outline of future experiments will be presented.