Ultra-bright gamma-ray emission and dense positron production from two laser-driven colliding foils

Li, Han-Zhen and Yu, Tong-Pu and Liu, Jin-Jin and Yin, Yan and Zhu, Xing-Long and Capdessus, Remi and Pegoraro, Francesco and Sheng, Zheng-Ming and McKenna, Paul and Shao, Fu-Qiu (2017) Ultra-bright gamma-ray emission and dense positron production from two laser-driven colliding foils. Scientific Reports. ISSN 2045-2322 (https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-17605-6)

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Matter can be transferred into energy and the opposite transformation is also possible by use of high-power lasers. A laser pulse in plasma can convert its energy into γ-rays and then e −e + pairs via the multi-photon Breit-Wheeler process. Production of dense positrons at GeV energies is very challenging since extremely high laser intensity ∼ 1024 Wcm−2 is required. Here we propose an all-optical scheme for ultra-bright γ-ray emission and dense positron production with lasers at intensity of 1022−23 Wcm−2 . By irradiating two colliding elliptically-polarized lasers onto two diamondlike carbon foils, electrons in the focal region of one foil are rapidly accelerated by the laser radiation pressure and interact with the other intense laser pulse which penetrates through the second foil due to relativistically induced foil transparency. This symmetric configuration enables efficient Compton back-scattering and results in ultra-bright γ-photon emission with brightness of ∼ 1025 photons/s/mm2 /mrad2 /0.1%BW at 15 MeV and intensity of 5×1023 Wcm−2 . Our first three-dimensional simulation with quantum-electrodynamics incorporated shows that a GeV positron beam with density of 2.5×1022 cm−3 and flux of 1.6×1010/shot is achieved. Collective effects of the pair plasma may be also triggered, offering a window on investigating laboratory astrophysics at PW laser facilities.