High order mode structure of intense light fields generated via a laser-driven relativistic plasma aperture

M. J. Duff, R. Wilson, M. King, B. Gonzalez-Izquierdo, A. Higginson, S. D. R. Williamson, Z. E. Davidson, R. Capdessus, N. Booth, S. Hawkes, D. Neely, R. J. Gray, P. McKenna

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The spatio-temporal and polarisation properties of intense light is important in wide-ranging topics at the forefront of extreme light-matter interactions, including ultrafast laser-driven particle acceleration, attosecond pulse generation, plasma photonics, high-field physics and laboratory astrophysics. Here, we experimentally demonstrate modifications to the polarisation and temporal properties of intense light measured at the rear of an ultrathin target foil irradiated by a relativistically intense laser pulse. The changes are shown to result from a superposition of coherent radiation, generated by a directly accelerated bipolar electron distribution, and the light transmitted due to the onset of relativistic self-induced transparency. Simulations show that the generated light has a high-order transverse electromagnetic mode structure in both the first and second laser harmonics that can evolve on intra-pulse time-scales. The mode structure and polarisation state vary with the interaction parameters, opening up the possibility of developing this approach to achieve dynamic control of structured light fields at ultrahigh intensities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2020


  • intense light fields
  • plasma aperture
  • intense laser pulse


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