Quasi-phasematched acceleration of electrons in a density modulated plasma waveguide
Yoon, Sung Jun
Milchberg, Howard M
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Two quasi-phasematching schemes are proposed for efficient acceleration of electrons to relativistic energies using moderate intensity laser pulses. In the first scheme, Direct Laser Acceleration (DLA) in a corrugated plasma waveguide is proposed for acceleration of relativistic electrons with sub-terawatt laser systems, using the laser field directly as the accelerating field. The second scheme uses the fact that a plasma wakefield generated by an intense guided pulse in a corrugated plasma waveguide can accelerate relativistic electrons significantly beyond the well-known dephasing limit. In each case, particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations are used to validate the acceleration concept, demonstrating linear acceleration by either the phase matched laser field or phase-matched wakefield. In the phase matched wakefield case, theory and PIC simulations demonstrate a significant increase in energy gain compared to the standard laser wakefield acceleration (LWFA) scheme. Corrugated plasma waveguides can be generated by the interaction between an ionizing laser pulse and an atomic cluster flow interrupted by an array of thin wires,. When the collisional mean free path of the clusters is greater than the wire diameter, shadows of the periodically located wires are imparted on the cluster flow, leading to the production of axially modulated plasma waveguides after laser heating of the flow. This occurs when the population ratio of clusters to monomers in the gas is high. At other limit, dominated by gas monomer flow, shock waves generated off the wires by the supersonic gas flow disrupts modulated waveguide generation. Lastly, we experimentally demonstrate LWFA with ionization injection in a N<super>5+</super> plasma waveguide. It is first shown that the plasma waveguide is almost completely composed of He-like nitrogen (N<super>5+</super>). It is then shown that intense pulse channeling in the plasma waveguide drives stronger wakefields, while the ionization injection process is critical to lowering the laser intensity threshold for self-trapping.