Electron bunch length measurements from laser-accelerated electrons using single-shot THz time-domain interferometry

A. Debus, M. Bussman, Ulrich Schramm, R. Sauerbrey, C.D. Murphy, Zs. Major, R. Hörlein, L. Veisz, Jordan Gerard Gallacher, D.A. Jaroszynski

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59 Citations (Scopus)


Laser-plasma wakefield-based electron accelerators are expected to deliver ultrashort electron bunches with unprecedented peak currents. However, their actual pulse duration has never been directly measured in a single-shot experiment. We present measurements of the ultrashort duration of such electron bunches by means of THz time-domain interferometry. With data obtained using a 0.5 J, 45 fs, 800 nm laser and a ZnTe-based electro-optical setup, we demonstrate the duration of laser-accelerated, quasimonoenergetic electron bunches [best fit of 32 fs (FWHM) with a 90% upper confidence level of 38 fs] to be shorter than the drive laser pulse, but similar to the plasma period.
Original languageEnglish
Article number084802
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2010


  • wakefield accelerator
  • plasma interactions
  • beams
  • radiation
  • pulses

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