Particle-in-cell simulation of plasma-based amplification using a moving window

Yoffe, S. R. and Lehe, R. and Ersfeld, B. and Brunetti, E. and Vieux, G. and Noble, A. and Eliasson, B. and Hur, M. S. and Vay, J.-Luc. and Jaroszynski, D. A. (2020) Particle-in-cell simulation of plasma-based amplification using a moving window. Physical Review Research, 2 (1). 013227. ISSN 2643-1564

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    Abstract

    Current high-power laser amplifiers use chirped-pulse amplification to prevent damage to their solid-state components caused by intense electromagnetic fields. To increase laser power further requires ever larger and more expensive devices. The Raman backscatter instability in plasma facilitates an alternative amplification strategy without the limitations imposed by material damage thresholds. Plasma-based amplification has been experimentally demonstrated, but only with relatively low efficiency. Further progress requires extensive use of numerical simulations, which usually need significant computational resources. Here we present particle-in-cell (PIC) simulation techniques for accurately simulating Raman amplification using a moving window with suitable boundary conditions, reducing computational cost. We show that an analytical model for matched pump propagation in a parabolic plasma channel slightly overestimates amplification as pump laser intensity is increased. However, a method for loading data saved from separate pump-only simulations demonstrates excellent agreement with full PIC simulation. The reduction in required resources will enable parameter scans to be performed to optimize amplification, and stimulate efforts toward developing viable plasma-based laser amplifiers. The methods may also be extended to investigate Brillouin scattering, and for the development of laser wakefield accelerators. Efficient, compact, low-cost amplifiers would have widespread applications in academia and industry.