The Advanced Laser-Plasma High-Energy Accelerators towards X-rays (ALPHA-X) programme is developing laserplasma accelerators for the production of ultra-short electron bunches with subsequent generation of incoherent radiation pulses from plasma and coherent short-wavelength radiation pulses from a free-electron laser (FEL). The first quantitative measurements of the electron energy spectra have been made on the University of Strathclyde ALPHA-X wakefield acceleration beam line. A high peak power laser pulse (energy 900 mJ, duration 35 fs) is focused into a gas jet (nozzle length 2 mm) using an F/16 spherical mirror. Electrons from the laser-induced plasma are self-injected into the accelerating potential of the plasma density wake behind the laser pulse. Electron beams emitted from the plasma have been imaged downstream using a series of Lanex screens positioned along the beam line axis and the divergence of the electron beam has been measured to be typically in the range 1-3 mrad. Measurements of the electron energy spectrum, obtained using the ALPHA-X high resolution magnetic dipole spectrometer, are presented. The maximum central energy of the monoenergetic beam is 90 MeV and r.m.s. relative energy spreads as low as 0.8% are measured. The mean central energy is 82 MeV and mean relative energy spread is 1.1%. A theoretical analysis of this unexpectedly high electron beam quality is presented and the potential impact on the viability of FELs driven by electron beams from laser wakefield accelerators is examined.
|Conference||Harnessing Relativistic Plasma Waves as Novel Radiation Sources from Terahertz to X-Rays and Beyond|
|Period||21/04/09 → 23/04/09|
- Electron beams
- Free electron lasers
- High power lasers