In a recent experiment at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Geddes et al 2008 Phys. Rev. Lett. 100 215004), electron bunches with about 1MeV mean energy and small absolute energy spread (about 0.3MeV) were produced by plasma wave breaking on a downward density ramp. It was then speculated that such a bunch might be accelerated further in a plasma of low constant density, while mostly preserving its small absolute energy spread. This would then lead to a bunch with a high mean energy and very low relative energy spread. In this paper, trapping of a low-energy, low-spread electron bunch on a downward density ramp, followed by acceleration in a constant-density plasma, has been explored through particle-in-cell simulations. It has been found that the scheme works best when it is used as a separate injection stage for a laserwakefield accelerator, where the injection and acceleration stages are separated by a vacuum gap.
- nuclear physics
- instrumentation and measurement
- plasma physics
- particle physics
- field theory