This Letter describes the first experimental demonstration of the guiding of a relativistic electron beam in a solid target using two colinear, relativistically intense, picosecond laser pulses. The first pulse creates a magnetic field that guides the higher-current, fast-electron beam generated by the second pulse. The effects of intensity ratio, delay, total energy, and intrinsic prepulse are examined. Thermal and K alpha imaging show reduced emission size, increased peak emission, and increased total emission at delays of 4-6 ps, an intensity ratio of 10:1 (second: first) and a total energy of 186 J. In comparison to a single, high-contrast shot, the inferred fast-electron divergence is reduced by 2.7 times, while the fast-electron current density is increased by a factor of 1.8. The enhancements are reproduced with modeling and are shown to be due to the self-generation of magnetic fields. Such a scheme could be of considerable benefit to fast-ignition inertial fusion.
- vulcan petawatt
- two laser pulses