An intense electromagnetic pulse can create a weak of plasma oscillations through the action of the nonlinear ponderomotive force. Electrons trapped in the wake can be accelerated to high energy. Existing glass lasers of power density W/ shone on plasmas of densities can yield gigaelectronvolts of electron energy per centimeter of acceleration distance. This acceleration mechanism is demonstrated through computer simulation. Applications to accelerators and pulsers are examined.
- Received 9 March 1979
- Published in the issue dated 23 July 1979
© 1979 The American Physical Society