Dense GeV electron–positron pairs generated by lasers in near-critical-density plasmas

Xing-Long Zhu, Tong-Pu Yu, Zheng-Ming Sheng, Yan Yin, Ion Cristian Edmond Turcu, Alexander Pukhov

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141 Citations (Scopus)
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Pair production can be triggered by high intensity lasers via the Breit-Wheeler process. However, the straightforward laser-laser colliding for copious numbers of pair creation requires light intensities several orders of magnitude higher than possible with the ongoing laser facilities. Despite the numerous proposed approaches, creating high-energy-density pair plasmas in laboratories is still challenging. Here we present an all-optical scheme for overdense pair production by two counter-propagating lasers irradiating near-critical-density plasmas at only ~1022W cm-2. In this scheme, bright γ-rays are generated by radiation-trapped electrons oscillating in the laser fields. The dense γ-photons then collide with the focused counter-propagating lasers to initiate the multi-photon Breit-Wheeler process. Particle-in-cell simulations indicate that one may generate a high-yield (1.05×1011) overdense (4×1022 cm-3 ) GeV positron beam using 10 PW scale lasers. Such a bright pair source has many practical applications and could be basis for future compact high luminosity electron-positron colliders.
Original languageEnglish
Article number13686
Number of pages8
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2016


  • pair production
  • electron-positron pairs
  • high intensity lasers
  • Breit-Wheeler process
  • particle-in-cell simulations
  • counter-propagating lasers


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