Towards the optimization of direct laser acceleration

Publication type

A. E. Hussein, A. Arefiev, T. Batson, H. Chen, R. S. Craxton, A. S. Davies, D. H. Froula, Z. Gong, D. Haberberger, Y. Ma, P. M. Nilson, W. Theobald, T. Wang, K. Weichman, G. J. Williams, and L. Willingale, "Towards the optimization of direct laser acceleration", New J. Phys. 23, 023031 (2021).


Experimental measurements using the OMEGA EP laser facility demonstrated direct laser acceleration (DLA) of electron beams to (505 ± 75) MeV with (140 ± 30) nC of charge from a low-density plasma target using a 400 J, picosecond duration pulse. Similar trends of electron energy with target density are also observed in self-consistent two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. The intensity of the laser pulse is sufficiently large that the electrons are rapidly expelled from along the laser pulse propagation axis to form a channel. The dominant acceleration mechanism is confirmed to be DLA and the effect of quasi-static channel fields on energetic electron dynamics is examined. A strong channel magnetic field, self-generated by the accelerated electrons, is found to play a comparable role to the transverse electric channel field in defining the boundary of electron motion.