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"A new world record: laser-plasma acceleration of electrons to 2 GeV"

Mike Downer
Department of Physics
The University of Texas at Austin


I will present recent results in which pulses from the Texas Petawatt Laser, focused into a 7-cm-long cell containing helium gas at less than 1/100 atmosphere, captured and accelerated ~100 pC of ambient electrons from the laser-produced helium plasma to 2 GeV with only a few percent energy spread. This is the most energetic, and most highly collimated quasi-monoenergetic electron beam ever produced by laser wakefield acceleration. It is also the lowest density plasma in which electrons have self-injected into a laser-plasma accelerating structure, an achievement that opens the door to multi-GeV electron sources without the need for external injection. Such energetic, high-quality beams are promising as tabletop sources of ultrashort, coherent hard x-rays for physical, chemical and biological studies of dynamics at the atomic scale. I will place these recent results in the context of recent world-wide research in laser-plasma acceleration.

Friday, November 9, 2012
IQSE 578, 2:00 p.m.
Mitchell Physics Building

Department of Physics and Astronomy
Texas A&M University

(Coffee and Cookies to be served at 1:45 p.m.)