Demonstration of a compact plasma accelerator powered by laser-accelerated electron beams

Kurz, T. and Heinemann, T. and Gilljohann, M. F. and Chang, Y.Y. and Couperus Cabadağ, J. P. and Debus, A. and Kononenko, O. and Pausch, R. and Schöbel, S. and Assmann, R. W. and Bussmann, M and Ding, H. and Götzfried, J. and Köhler, A. and Raj, G. and Schindler, S. and Steiniger, K. and Zarini, O. and Döpp, A. and Hidding, B. and Karsch, S and Schramm, U. and Martinez de la Ossa, A. and Irman, A. (2021) Demonstration of a compact plasma accelerator powered by laser-accelerated electron beams. Nature Communications, 12. 2895. ISSN 2041-1723 (

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Plasma wakefield accelerators are capable of sustaining gigavolt-per-centimeter accelerating fields, surpassing the electric breakdown threshold in state-of-the-art accelerator modules by 3-4 orders of magnitude. Beam-driven wakefields offer particularly attractive conditions for the generation and acceleration of high-quality beams. However, this scheme relies on kilometer-scale accelerators. Here, we report on the demonstration of a millimeter-scale plasma accelerator powered by laser-accelerated electron beams. We showcase the acceleration of electron beams to 128 MeV, consistent with simulations exhibiting accelerating gradients exceeding 100 GV m−1. This miniaturized accelerator is further explored by employing a controlled pair of drive and witness electron bunches, where a fraction of the driver energy is transferred to the accelerated witness through the plasma. Such a hybrid approach allows fundamental studies of beam-driven plasma accelerator concepts at widely accessible high-power laser facilities. It is anticipated to provide compact sources of energetic high-brightness electron beams for quality-demanding applications such as free-electron lasers.


Kurz, T., Heinemann, T., Gilljohann, M. F., Chang, Y.Y., Couperus Cabadağ, J. P., Debus, A., Kononenko, O., Pausch, R., Schöbel, S., Assmann, R. W., Bussmann, M, Ding, H., Götzfried, J., Köhler, A., Raj, G., Schindler, S., Steiniger, K., Zarini, O., Döpp, A., Hidding, B. ORCID logoORCID:, Karsch, S, Schramm, U., Martinez de la Ossa, A. and Irman, A.;