Measurements of FEL dynamics

  • Allan M. MacLeod

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The design, implementation and commissioning of a time-resolved electron energy spectrometer system are discussed. Since its installation at the FELIX free-electron laser user facility in Nieuwegein, The Netherlands, the spectrometer system has been in regular use as a diagnostic and investigative tool. The system provides 0.2% energy resolution with 32 channels, and time resolution of 50 ns. The spectrometer is positioned immediately following the undulator so that the gain medium—the relativistic electron beam—can be probed immediately following its interaction with the optical field in the laser cavity. The system permits real-time calculation and graphical display of key beam parameters as well as the archiving of raw data, and has been used to provide insight into the operation of an FEL in the high slippage, short pulse regime. In particular, direct measurement of the extraction efficiency is possible from macropulse to macropulse. A systematic study of efficiency as a function of wavelength and cavity desynchronisation has been undertaken. At low values of cavity desynchronisation the efficiencies measured exceed the conventional 1/2/V estimate by between 50% and 100% and these results are shown to be consistent with the formation of ultrashort optical pulses—approximately of 6 optical cycles in length. An investigation into the way in which the electron beam energy can be swept on a microsecond time scale has made it possible to produce given sweeps in wavelength—of up to 2 %, limited only by the constraints of the electron beam transport system—which have been used by molecular spectroscopists to excite target molecules through an anharmonic ladder of states. Further evidence for the recent observation of superradiance in an FEL oscillator has been provided by an investigation which shows that the efficiency and intracavity power of the radiation scale respectively as the inverse square root and the inverse square of the cavity losses, verifying the superradiant scaling laws predicted by the supermode theory. An important consequence of this observation is that it indicates that shorter and more intense optical pulses may be produced by increasing the bunch charge and reducing optical cavity losses.
Date of AwardFeb 1999
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorW. Allan Gillespie (Supervisor)

Cite this