Measurements of energetic electron beams generated from ultrahigh intensity laser interactions (I>1019 W/cm2) with dense plasmas are discussed. These interactions have been shown to produce very directional beams, although with a broad energy spectrum. In the regime where the beam density approaches the density of the background plasma, we show that these beams are unstable to filamentation and 'hosing' instabilities. Particle-in-cell simulations also indicate the development of such instabilities. This is a regime of particular interest for inertial confinement fusion applications of these beams (i.e., "fast ignition").
- electron beams