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Title: Laser Wakefield Acceleration Driven by a CO2 Laser (STELLA-LW) - Final Report

Abstract

The original goals of the Staged Electron Laser Acceleration – Laser Wakefield (STELLA-LW) program were to investigate two new methods for laser wakefield acceleration (LWFA). In pseudo-resonant LWFA (PR-LWFA), a laser pulse experiences nonlinear pulse steepening while traveling through the plasma. This steepening allows the laser pulse to generate wakefields even though the laser pulse length is too long for resonant LWFA to occur. For the conditions of this program, PR-LWFA requires a minimum laser peak power of 3 TW and a low plasma density (10^16 cm^-3). Seeded self-modulated LWFA (seeded SM-LWFA) combines LWFA with plasma wakefield acceleration (PWFA). An ultrashort (~100 fs) electron beam bunch acts as a seed in a plasma to form a wakefield via PWFA. This wakefield is subsequently amplified by the laser pulse through a self-modulated LWFA process. At least 1 TW laser power and, for a ~100-fs bunch, a plasma density ~10^17 cm^-3 are required. STELLA-LW was located on Beamline #1 at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) Accelerator Test Facility (ATF). The ATF TW CO2 laser served as the driving laser beam for both methods. For PR-LWFA, a single bunch was to probe the wakefield produced by the laser beam. For seeded SM-LWFA, themore » ATF linac would produce two bunches, where the first would be the seed and the second would be the witness. A chicane would compress the first bunch to enable it to generate wakefields via PWFA. The plasma source was a short-length, gas-filled capillary discharge with the laser beam tightly focused in the center of the capillary, i.e., no laser guiding was used, in order to obtain the needed laser intensity. During the course of the program, several major changes had to be made. First, the ATF could not complete the upgrade of the CO2 laser to the 3 TW peak power needed for the PR-LWFA experiment. Therefore, the PR-LWFA experiment had to be abandoned leaving only the seeded SM-LWFA experiment. Second, the ATF discovered that the chicane bifurcated the incoming bunch into two compressed bunches separated in time and energy. With the available equipment it was not possible to stop the bifurcation. In an attempt to still deliver a single compressed bunch to the experiment, a slit was used to block one of the bunches, but this also blocked any witness bunch. Third, the loss of the witness bunch meant a different method for detecting the effect of the laser beam on the wakefield had to be implemented. Hence, a coherent Thomson scattering (CTS) diagnostic was designed and assembled. Unfortunately, further tests with blocking one of the double-bunches showed that wakefield generation was too unstable and difficult to control for the seeded SM-LWFA experiment. Luckily, it was found that a fast-rising (~50 fs) bunch could be created along Beamline #2 that was capable of generating wakefields, did not use the chicane, and was more stable. Thus, as the fourth major change, the entire STELLA-LW apparatus, including the CTS diagnostic, was moved from Beamline #1 to Beamline #2. Because this move occurred near the end of the program, only a single 2-week run could be performed. During the run it was found the laser beam transmission through the capillary discharge was severely degraded when the plasma was on. This loss of transmission appeared to be due to defocusing of the laser beam probably caused by laser-induced ionization creating a lens effect inside the capillary. Defocusing could also cause laser light to strike the capillary wall, thereby producing ablation and localized changes in the plasma density. Any changes in the plasma density would disrupt the plasma resonance condition for the wakefield. It was also discovered after the run that the ATF laser was producing multiple output pulses. The leading pulse could have caused ionization that interfered with transmission of the following pulses. Worse yet, the peak power in each of the pulses was several times smaller than if all the pulse energy was in a single pulse. This meant each pulse had less than 1 TW power. Wakefield formation with no laser beam present was confirmed by observing energy loss of the fast-raising seed bunch passing through the capillary discharge. When the laser beam was sent into the plasma, no CTS signal was detected, probably due to defocusing of the laser light, changes in the plasma density due to laser-induced ionization, and insufficient peak power in the individual pulses. It is for these reasons we were not able to validate the seeded SM-LWFA predictions. In summary, the STELLA-LW experiment was not able to demonstrate seeded SM-LWFA or PR-LWFA primarily because of limitations of the ATF CO2 laser, both in its deliverable peak power and its ability to provide a single laser pulse.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
STI Optronics, Inc.
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
932997
Report Number(s):
DOE/ER/41294-1 Final Report
1828.6
DOE Contract Number:  
FG02-04ER41294
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
43 PARTICLE ACCELERATORS; Laser wakefield acceleration; LWFA; plasma wakefield acceleration; PWFA; CO2 laser

Citation Formats

Kimura, Wayne D. Laser Wakefield Acceleration Driven by a CO2 Laser (STELLA-LW) - Final Report. United States: N. p., 2008. Web. doi:10.2172/932997.
Kimura, Wayne D. Laser Wakefield Acceleration Driven by a CO2 Laser (STELLA-LW) - Final Report. United States. doi:10.2172/932997.
Kimura, Wayne D. Fri . "Laser Wakefield Acceleration Driven by a CO2 Laser (STELLA-LW) - Final Report". United States. doi:10.2172/932997. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/932997.
@article{osti_932997,
title = {Laser Wakefield Acceleration Driven by a CO2 Laser (STELLA-LW) - Final Report},
author = {Kimura, Wayne D},
abstractNote = {The original goals of the Staged Electron Laser Acceleration – Laser Wakefield (STELLA-LW) program were to investigate two new methods for laser wakefield acceleration (LWFA). In pseudo-resonant LWFA (PR-LWFA), a laser pulse experiences nonlinear pulse steepening while traveling through the plasma. This steepening allows the laser pulse to generate wakefields even though the laser pulse length is too long for resonant LWFA to occur. For the conditions of this program, PR-LWFA requires a minimum laser peak power of 3 TW and a low plasma density (10^16 cm^-3). Seeded self-modulated LWFA (seeded SM-LWFA) combines LWFA with plasma wakefield acceleration (PWFA). An ultrashort (~100 fs) electron beam bunch acts as a seed in a plasma to form a wakefield via PWFA. This wakefield is subsequently amplified by the laser pulse through a self-modulated LWFA process. At least 1 TW laser power and, for a ~100-fs bunch, a plasma density ~10^17 cm^-3 are required. STELLA-LW was located on Beamline #1 at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) Accelerator Test Facility (ATF). The ATF TW CO2 laser served as the driving laser beam for both methods. For PR-LWFA, a single bunch was to probe the wakefield produced by the laser beam. For seeded SM-LWFA, the ATF linac would produce two bunches, where the first would be the seed and the second would be the witness. A chicane would compress the first bunch to enable it to generate wakefields via PWFA. The plasma source was a short-length, gas-filled capillary discharge with the laser beam tightly focused in the center of the capillary, i.e., no laser guiding was used, in order to obtain the needed laser intensity. During the course of the program, several major changes had to be made. First, the ATF could not complete the upgrade of the CO2 laser to the 3 TW peak power needed for the PR-LWFA experiment. Therefore, the PR-LWFA experiment had to be abandoned leaving only the seeded SM-LWFA experiment. Second, the ATF discovered that the chicane bifurcated the incoming bunch into two compressed bunches separated in time and energy. With the available equipment it was not possible to stop the bifurcation. In an attempt to still deliver a single compressed bunch to the experiment, a slit was used to block one of the bunches, but this also blocked any witness bunch. Third, the loss of the witness bunch meant a different method for detecting the effect of the laser beam on the wakefield had to be implemented. Hence, a coherent Thomson scattering (CTS) diagnostic was designed and assembled. Unfortunately, further tests with blocking one of the double-bunches showed that wakefield generation was too unstable and difficult to control for the seeded SM-LWFA experiment. Luckily, it was found that a fast-rising (~50 fs) bunch could be created along Beamline #2 that was capable of generating wakefields, did not use the chicane, and was more stable. Thus, as the fourth major change, the entire STELLA-LW apparatus, including the CTS diagnostic, was moved from Beamline #1 to Beamline #2. Because this move occurred near the end of the program, only a single 2-week run could be performed. During the run it was found the laser beam transmission through the capillary discharge was severely degraded when the plasma was on. This loss of transmission appeared to be due to defocusing of the laser beam probably caused by laser-induced ionization creating a lens effect inside the capillary. Defocusing could also cause laser light to strike the capillary wall, thereby producing ablation and localized changes in the plasma density. Any changes in the plasma density would disrupt the plasma resonance condition for the wakefield. It was also discovered after the run that the ATF laser was producing multiple output pulses. The leading pulse could have caused ionization that interfered with transmission of the following pulses. Worse yet, the peak power in each of the pulses was several times smaller than if all the pulse energy was in a single pulse. This meant each pulse had less than 1 TW power. Wakefield formation with no laser beam present was confirmed by observing energy loss of the fast-raising seed bunch passing through the capillary discharge. When the laser beam was sent into the plasma, no CTS signal was detected, probably due to defocusing of the laser light, changes in the plasma density due to laser-induced ionization, and insufficient peak power in the individual pulses. It is for these reasons we were not able to validate the seeded SM-LWFA predictions. In summary, the STELLA-LW experiment was not able to demonstrate seeded SM-LWFA or PR-LWFA primarily because of limitations of the ATF CO2 laser, both in its deliverable peak power and its ability to provide a single laser pulse.},
doi = {10.2172/932997},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2008},
month = {6}
}