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QED cascade saturation in extreme high fields

Luo, Wen and Liu, Wei-Yuan and Yuan, Tao and Chen, Min and Yu, Ji-Ye and Li, Fei-Yu and Del Sorbo, D. and Ridgers, C. P. and Sheng, Zheng-Ming (2018) QED cascade saturation in extreme high fields. Scientific Reports, 8. ISSN 2045-2322

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Upcoming ultrahigh power lasers at 10 PW level will make it possible to experimentally explore electron-positron (e−e+) pair cascades and subsequent relativistic e−e+ jets formation, which are supposed to occur in extreme astrophysical environments, such as black holes, pulsars, quasars and gamma-ray bursts. In the latter case it is a long-standing question as to how the relativistic jets are formed and what their temperatures and compositions are. Here we report simulation results of pair cascades in two counter-propagating QED-strong laser fields. A scaling of QED cascade growth with laser intensity is found, showing clear cascade saturation above threshold intensity of ~1024 W/cm2. QED cascade saturation leads to pair plasma cooling and longitudinal compression along the laser axis, resulting in the subsequent formation of relativistic dense e−e+ jets along transverse directions. Such laser-driven QED cascade saturation may open up the opportunity to study energetic astrophysical phenomena in laboratory.