Observation of Synchrotron Radiation from Electrons Accelerated in a Petawatt-Laser-Generated Plasma Cavity

S. Kneip, S. R. Nagel, C. Bellei, N. Bourgeois, A. E. Dangor, A. Gopal, R. Heathcote, S. P. D. Mangles, J. R. Marquès, A. Maksimchuk, P. M. Nilson, K. Ta Phuoc, S. Reed, M. Tzoufras, F. S. Tsung, L. Willingale, W. B. Mori, A. Rousse, K. Krushelnick, and Z. Najmudin
Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 105006 – Published 14 March 2008


The dynamics of plasma electrons in the focus of a petawatt laser beam are studied via measurements of their x-ray synchrotron radiation. With increasing laser intensity, a forward directed beam of x rays extending to 50 keV is observed. The measured x rays are well described in the synchrotron asymptotic limit of electrons oscillating in a plasma channel. The critical energy of the measured synchrotron spectrum is found to scale as the Maxwellian temperature of the simultaneously measured electron spectra. At low laser intensity transverse oscillations are negligible as the electrons are predominantly accelerated axially by the laser generated wakefield. At high laser intensity, electrons are directly accelerated by the laser and enter a highly radiative regime with up to 5% of their energy converted into x rays.

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  • Received 13 December 2007


©2008 American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

S. Kneip1, S. R. Nagel1, C. Bellei1, N. Bourgeois2, A. E. Dangor1, A. Gopal3, R. Heathcote4, S. P. D. Mangles1, J. R. Marquès2, A. Maksimchuk5, P. M. Nilson1, K. Ta Phuoc6, S. Reed5, M. Tzoufras7, F. S. Tsung7, L. Willingale1, W. B. Mori7, A. Rousse6, K. Krushelnick1,5, and Z. Najmudin1

  • 1The Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College London SW7 2AZ, United Kingdom
  • 2Laboratoire pour l’Utilisation des Lasers Intenses, Ecole Polytechnique, 91128 Palaiseau, France
  • 3Department of Electronics, Technological Educational Institute of Crete, Romanou, 3-GR73133 Chania, Greece
  • 4Central Laser Facility, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Oxon OX11 0QX, United Kingdom
  • 5Center for Ultrafast Optical Science (CUOS) University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA
  • 6Laboratoire d’Optique Appliqué, ENSTA, Ecole Polytechnique, 91761 Palaiseau, France
  • 7Department of Physics and Astronomy and Department of Electrical Engineering, UCLA, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA

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Vol. 100, Iss. 10 — 14 March 2008

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Heating up of Superconductors
January 27, 2017

This collection marks the 30th anniversary of the discovery of high-temperature superconductors. The papers selected highlight some of the advances that have been made to date, both in understanding why these compounds behave in the way they do, and in utilizing them in applications. The papers included in the collection have been made free to read.

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