Superradiant pulse saturation in a Free Electron Laser

Pongchalee, Pornthep and McNeil, Brian W.J. (2024) Superradiant pulse saturation in a Free Electron Laser. Results in Physics, 60. 107673. ISSN 2211-3797 (

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A study is made of the saturation mechanism of a single superradiant `spike' of radiation in a Free Electron Laser. A one-dimensional (1D) computer model is developed using the Puffin, un-averaged FEL simulation code, which allows sub-radiation wavelength evolution of both the spike radiation field and the electron dynamics to be modelled until the highly non-linear saturation process of the spike is observed. Animations of the process from the start to the end of the interaction are available. The resultant saturated spike duration is at the sub-wavelength scale and has a broad spectrum. The electrons passing through the spike can both lose and gain energy many times greater than that of the `normal' non-pulsed FEL interaction. A saturation mechanism is proposed and tested via a simple analysis of the 1D FEL equations. The scaling results of the analysis are seen to be in good agreement with the numerical results. A simple model of three dimensional diffraction effects of the radiation is applied to the results of the 1D simulations. This greatly reduces longer wavelengths of the power spectrum, which are seen to be emitted mainly after the electrons have propagated through the spike, and is seen to be in qualitative agreement with recent experimental results.