Stable operation of a laser-plasma accelerator near the threshold for electron self-injection in the blowout regime has been demonstrated with 25–60 TW, 30 fs laser pulses focused into a 3–4 millimeter length gas jet. Nearly Gaussian shape and high nanosecond contrast of the focused pulse appear to be critically important for controllable, tunable generation of 250–430 MeV electron bunches with a low-energy spread, charge, a few-mrad divergence and pointing stability, and a vanishingly small low-energy background. The physical nature of the near-threshold behavior is examined using three-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. Simulations indicate that properly locating the nonlinear focus of the laser pulse within the plasma suppresses continuous injection, thus reducing the low-energy tail of the electron beam.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTAB.16.0313023 More
- Received 1 November 2012
- Published 25 March 2013
Published by the American Physical Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the published article’s title, journal citation, and DOI.
Published by the American Physical Society