Plasma photocathode wakefield acceleration combines energy gains of tens of GeV m−1 with generation of ultralow emittance electron bunches, and opens a path towards 5D-brightness orders of magnitude larger than state-of-the-art. This holds great promise for compact accelerator building blocks and advanced light sources. However, an intrinsic by-product of the enormous electric field gradients inherent to plasma accelerators is substantial correlated energy spread—an obstacle for key applications such as free-electron-lasers. Here we show that by releasing an additional tailored escort electron beam at a later phase of the acceleration, when the witness bunch is relativistically stable, the plasma wave can be locally overloaded without compromising the witness bunch normalized emittance. This reverses the effective accelerating gradient, and counter-rotates the accumulated negative longitudinal phase space chirp of the witness bunch. Thereby, the energy spread is reduced by an order of magnitude, thus enabling the production of ultrahigh 6D-brightness beams.
- plasma photocathode wakefield acceleration
- ultralow emittance electron bunches
- energy spread