Laser plasma acceleration

20 agosto 2013

The interaction of ultra-high intensity lasers with matter gives rise to a series of interesting phenomena in plasma physics, like acceleration of electrons up to energies of 1 GeV, ion up to tens of MeV, or the production of coherent and incoherent X-rays. Particle accelerators based on laser-produced plasmas are able to stand field gradients up to 100 GV/m. This allows the production of high-energy particle beams in very short distances, making laser plasma accelerators a very attractive alternative to large-scale conventional accelerators.

In collaboration with the University of Salamanca, the Centro de Láseres Pulsados researches the electron acceleration in the λ3 regime. The regime refers to the limit at which the laser energy is temporally confined to a pulse of the order of a laser period, and spatially restricted to a limited focal spot with an area of the order of the laser wavelength square. This approach is very attractive as it allows reaching the relativistic regime with moderate pulses energies (below 1 mJ). This means that, using a GW laser with optimum characteristics it is possible to explore the relativistic regime with compact and stable lasers at a repetition rate of kHz. Focusing the laser to dimensions close to the laser wavelength eliminates the noise coming from macroscopic irregularities and creates electron and X-ray beams with special coherence.