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A computational investigation of the impact of aberrated Gaussian laser pulses on electron beam properties in laser-wakefield acceleration experiments

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Article number053110
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>05/2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Physics of Plasmas
Issue number5
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Critical to the performance of any future accelerator based on the laser wakefield accelerator is the response of the system to perturbations from ideal. In this paper, we use particle-in-cell simulation using a modified version of the OSIRIS 2.0 framework to demonstrate that comatic optical aberrations in a nominally Gaussian laser pulse are self-corrected by the plasma response, leading to stable propagation and therefore little variation in peak energy, energy spread, or peak current of the accelerated bunch, even for serious aberrations. However, the comatic aberration does lead to enhanced transverse beam emittance in the direction of the coma. Although this may be deleterious to the performance of an accelerator, one useful outcome is that the increased oscillation amplitude of electrons in the wake structure may lead to increased synchrotron radiation emission, which would be partially polarized in the direction of coma.