Introduction to plasma accelerators : the basics

Bingham, Robert and Trines, R. (2016) Introduction to plasma accelerators : the basics. In: Proceedings of the 2014 CAS-CERN Accelerator School. CERN Publishing, Geneva, Switzerland, pp. 67-78. ISBN 978–92–9083–424–3

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    In this article, we concentrate on the basic physics of relativistic plasma wave accelerators. The generation of relativistic plasma waves by intense lasers or electron beams in low-density plasmas is important in the quest for producing ultra-high acceleration gradients for accelerators. A number of methods are being pursued vigorously to achieve ultra-high acceleration gradients using various plasma wave drivers; these include wakefield accelerators driven by photon, electron, and ion beams. We describe the basic equations and show how intense beams can generate a large-amplitude relativistic plasma wave capable of accelerating particles to high energies. We also demonstrate how these same relativistic electron waves can accelerate photons in plasmas.