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Electron beam manipulation, injection and acceleration in plasma wakefield accelerators by optically generated plasma density spikes

Wittig, Georg and Karger, Oliver S. and Knetsch, Alexander and Xi, Yunfeng and Deng, Aihua and Rosenzweig, James B. and Bruhwiler, David L. and Smith, Jonathan and Sheng, Zheng-Ming and Jaroszynski, Dino A. and Manahan, Grace G. and Hidding, Bernhard (2016) Electron beam manipulation, injection and acceleration in plasma wakefield accelerators by optically generated plasma density spikes. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment. ISSN 0168-9002

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    We discuss considerations regarding a novel and robust scheme for optically triggered electron bunch generation in plasma wakefield accelerators [1]. In this technique, a transversely propagating focused laser pulse ignites a quasi-stationary plasma column before the arrival of the plasma wake. This localized plasma density enhancement or optical "plasma torch" distorts the blowout during the arrival of the electron drive bunch and modifies the electron trajectories, resulting in controlled injection. By changing the gas density, and the laser pulse parameters such as beam waist and intensity, and by moving the focal point of the laser pulse, the shape of the plasma torch, and therefore the generated trailing beam, can be tuned easily. The proposed method is much more flexible and faster in generating gas density transitions when compared to hydrodynamics-based methods, and it accommodates experimentalists needs as it is a purely optical process and straightforward to implement.