Controlling fast-electron-beam divergence using two laser pulses

R. H. H. Scott, C. Beaucourt, H. -P. Schlenvoigt, K. Markey, K. L. Lancaster, C. P. Ridgers, C. M. Brenner, J. Pasley, R. J. Gray, I. O. Musgrave, A. P. L. Robinson, K. Li, M. M. Notley, J. R. Davies, S. D. Baton, J. J. Santos, J. -L. Feugeas, Ph. Nicolai, G. Malka, V. T. TikhonchukP. McKenna, D. Neely, S. J. Rose, P. A. Norreys

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49 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number015001
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2012


  • vulcan petawatt
  • facility
  • ignition
  • preamplifier
  • high-gain
  • fast-electron-beam
  • divergence
  • two laser pulses
  • control


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