Experimental signatures of the quantum nature of radiation reaction in the field of an ultraintense laser

Poder, K. and Tamburini, M. and Sarri, G. and Di Piazza, A. and Kuschel, S. and Baird, C.~D. and Behm, K. and Bohlen, S. and Cole, J. M. and Corvan, D. J. and Duff, M. and Gerstmayr, E. and Keitel, C. H. and Krushelnick, K. and Mangles, S. P. D. and McKenna, P. and Murphy, C. D. and Najmudin, Z. and Ridgers, C. P. and Samarin, G. M. and Symes, D. and Thomas, A. G. R. and Warwick, J. and Zepf, M. (2018) Experimental signatures of the quantum nature of radiation reaction in the field of an ultraintense laser. Physical Review X, 8 (3). ISSN 2160-3308

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    Abstract

    The motion of an electron in an external field of arbitrary intensity is one of the most fundamental outstanding problems in electrodynamics. Remarkably, there is no unanimously accepted theoretical solution for high intensities and little or no experimental data to date. The basic challenge is the inclusion of the self-interaction of the electron with the fields emitted by the electron itself -- the so-called radiation reaction (RR). As is well known, solutions exist for specific parameter ranges. At low field-strength, where RR is negligible, the equation of motion is the well-known Lorentz equation. At higher field-strength in the classical limit the Landau-Lifshitz equation is the accepted solution. For the strongest fields a full quantum description is required and this is currently the subject of active research. We report on the first experimental evidence of strong radiation reaction during the interaction of a relativistic electron beam with an intense laser field.