Mapping transient electric fields with picosecond electron bunches

Chen, Long and Li, Runze and Chen, Jie and Zhu, Pengfei and Liu, Feng and Cao, Jianming and Sheng, Zheng-Ming and Zhang, Jie (2015) Mapping transient electric fields with picosecond electron bunches. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112 (47). pp. 14479-14483. ISSN 0027-8424

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    Abstract

    Transient electric fields, which are an important but hardly explored parameter of laser plasmas, can now be diagnosed experimentally with combined ultrafast temporal resolution and field sensitivity, using femtosecond to picosecond electron or proton pulses as probes. However, poor spatial resolution poses great challenges to simultaneously recording both the global and local field features. Here, we present a direct 3D measurement of a transient electric field by time-resolved electron schlieren radiography with simultaneous 80-Êm spatial and 3.7-ps temporal resolutions, analyzed using an Abel inversion algorithm. The electric field here is built up at the front of an aluminum foil irradiated with a femtosecond laser pulse at 1.9 × 1012 W/cm2, where electrons are emitted at a speed of 4 × 106 m/s, resulting in a unique gpeak.valleyh transient electric field map with the field strength up to 105 V/m. Furthermore, time-resolved schlieren radiography with charged particle pulses should enable the mapping of various fast-evolving field structures including those found in plasma-based particle accelerators.