Three electron beams from a laser-plasma wakefield accelerator and the energy apportioning question

Yang, X. and Brunetti, E. and Reboredo Gil, D. and Welsh, G.H. and Li, F.Y. and Cipiccia, S. and Ersfeld, B. and Grant, D.W. and Grant, P.A. and Islam, M.R. and Tooley, M.P. and Vieux, G. and Wiggins, S.M. and Sheng, Z.M. and Jaroszynski, D.A. (2017) Three electron beams from a laser-plasma wakefield accelerator and the energy apportioning question. Scientific Reports, 7. 43910. ISSN 2045-2322

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    Abstract

    Laser-wakefield accelerators are compact devices capable of delivering ultra-short electron bunches with pC-level charge and MeV-GeV energy by exploiting the ultra-high electric fields arising from the interaction of intense laser pulses with plasma. We show experimentally and through numerical simulations that a high-energy electron beam is produced simultaneously with two stable lower-energy beams that are ejected in oblique and counter-propagating directions, typically carrying off 5-10% of the initial laser energy. A MeV, 10s nC oblique beam is ejected in a 30-60 degree hollow cone, which is filled with more energetic electrons determined by the injection dynamics. A nC-level, 100s keV backward-directed beam is mainly produced at the leading edge of the plasma column. We discuss the apportioning of absorbed laser energy amongst the three beams. Knowledge of the distribution of laser energy and electron beam charge, which determine the overall efficiency, is important for various applications of laser-wakefield accelerators, including the development of staged high-energy accelerators.