Boosting Laser electron acceleration with a tiny plasma channel

  Christine Stollberg  ,  E. Kroupp [1]  ,  D. Mikitchuk [1]  ,  R. Doron [1]  ,  M. Cvejic [1]  ,  Y. Maron [1]  ,  G. Paulus [2]  ,  E. Foerster [2]  ,  I. Uschmann [2]  
[1] Weizmann Institute of Science
[2] Friedrich Schiller University of Jena

The acceleration of electrons with high intensity laser pulses offers an efficient and cost effective alternative to the large classical particle accelerators.  In laser wakefield acceleration (LWFA), a high intensity laser pulse is used to excite a plasma wave, which subsequently accelerates the injected electrons. Although this technique is still experimental, electron energies above one GeV have already been achieved.

Capillary-discharge plasma wave-guides are a common means to confine the laser beam beyond the focal depth and further increase the electron-beam energy and quality. Here we suggest in collaboration with the University of Jena, Germany, to use a self-imploding plasma channel (z-pinch) as wave-guide for LWFA. In contrast to the common approach, where radial probing is prohibited due to the capillary walls, the newly suggested z-pinch method is not restricted to axial diagnostics and can yield valuable information about the acceleration process.  Furthermore, for future application, the z-pinch approach offers longer operation cycles since it saves the need for frequent capillary replacement.

An introduction to the mechanism of LWFA will be given. Preliminary experimental results of the investigation of a gas-puff z-pinch plasma as a wave-guide for LWFA will be presented.