Tunable synchrotron-like radiation from centimeter scale plasma channels

Chen, Min and Luo, Ji and Li, Fei-yu and Liu, Feng and Sheng, Zheng-Ming and Zhang, Jie (2016) Tunable synchrotron-like radiation from centimeter scale plasma channels. Light: Science & Applications, 5. e16015. ISSN 2047-7538 (https://doi.org/10.1038/lsa.2016.15)

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Synchrotron radiation sources are immensely useful tools for scientific researches and many practical applications. Currently, the state-of-the-art synchrotrons rely on conventional accelerators, where electrons are accelerated in a straight line and radiate in bending magnets or other insertion devices. However, these facilities are usually large and costly. Here, we study a compact all-optical synchrotron like radiation source based on laser-plasma acceleration either in a straight or a curved plasma channel. With the laser pulse off-axially injected, its centroid oscillates transversely in the plasma channel. This results in a wiggler motion of the whole accelerating structure and the self-trapped electrons behind the laser pulse, leading to strong synchrotron-like radiations with tunable spectra. It is further shown that a palmtop ring-shaped synchrotron is possible with current high power laser technologies. With its potential of high flexibility and tunability, such light sources once realized would find applications in wide areas and make up the shortage of large synchrotron radiation facilities.