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Generation of attosecond electron bunches in a laser-plasma accelerator using a plasma density upramp

Weikum, M.K. and Li, F.Y. and Assmann, R.W. and Sheng, Z.M. and Jaroszynski, D. (2016) Generation of attosecond electron bunches in a laser-plasma accelerator using a plasma density upramp. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment. ISSN 0168-9002

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    Attosecond electron bunches and attosecond radiation pulses enable the study of ultrafast dynamics of matter in an unprecedented regime. In this paper, the suitability for the experimental realization of a novel scheme producing sub-femtosecond duration electron bunches from laser-wakefield acceleration in plasma with self-injection in a plasma upramp profile has been investigated. While it has previously been predicted that this requires laser power above a few hundred terawatts typically, here we show that the scheme can be extended with reduced driving laser powers down to tens of terawatts, generating accelerated electron pulses with minimum length of around 166. attoseconds and picocoulombs charge. Using particle-in-cell simulations and theoretical models, the evolution of the accelerated electron bunch within the plasma as well as simple scalings of the bunch properties with initial laser and plasma parameters are presented.