Three electron beams from a laser-plasma wakefield accelerator and the energy apportioning question

X. Yang, E. Brunetti, D. Reboredo Gil, G.H. Welsh, F.Y. Li, S. Cipiccia, B. Ersfeld, D.W. Grant, P.A. Grant, M.R. Islam, M.P. Tooley, G. Vieux, S.M. Wiggins, Z.M. Sheng, D.A. Jaroszynski

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Laser-wakefield accelerators are compact devices capable of delivering ultra-short electron bunches with pC-level charge and MeV-GeV energy by exploiting the ultra-high electric fields arising from the interaction of intense laser pulses with plasma. We show experimentally and through numerical simulations that a high-energy electron beam is produced simultaneously with two stable lower-energy beams that are ejected in oblique and counter-propagating directions, typically carrying off 5-10% of the initial laser energy. A MeV, 10s nC oblique beam is ejected in a 30-60 degree hollow cone, which is filled with more energetic electrons determined by the injection dynamics. A nC-level, 100s keV backward-directed beam is mainly produced at the leading edge of the plasma column. We discuss the apportioning of absorbed laser energy amongst the three beams. Knowledge of the distribution of laser energy and electron beam charge, which determine the overall efficiency, is important for various applications of laser-wakefield accelerators, including the development of staged high-energy accelerators.
Original languageEnglish
Article number43910
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2017


  • laser-wakefield accelerators
  • ultra-high-electric fields
  • ultra-short electron bunches
  • electron beam charge
  • laser energy distribution


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