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Generation of neutral and high-density electron-positron pair plasmas in the laboratory

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

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  • G. Sarri
  • K. Poder
  • J. M. Cole
  • W. Schumaker
  • A. Di Piazza
  • B. Reville
  • T. Dzelzainis
  • D. Doria
  • L. A. Gizzi
  • G. Grittani
  • S. Kar
  • C. H. Keitel
  • K. Krushelnick
  • S. Kuschel
  • S. P. D. Mangles
  • Z. Najmudin
  • N. Shukla
  • L. O. Silva
  • D. Symes
  • M. Vargas
  • J. Vieira
  • M. Zepf
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Article number6747
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>04/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Nature Communications
Volume6
Number of pages8
StatePublished
Early online date23/04/15
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Electron-positron pair plasmas represent a unique state of matter, whereby there exists an intrinsic and complete symmetry between negatively charged (matter) and positively charged (antimatter) particles. These plasmas play a fundamental role in the dynamics of ultra-massive astrophysical objects and are believed to be associated with the emission of ultra-bright gamma-ray bursts. Despite extensive theoretical modelling, our knowledge of this state of matter is still speculative, owing to the extreme difficulty in recreating neutral matter-antimatter plasmas in the laboratory. Here we show that, by using a compact laser-driven setup, ion-free electron-positron plasmas with unique characteristics can be produced. Their charge neutrality (same amount of matter and antimatter), high-density and small divergence finally open up the possibility of studying electron-positron plasmas in controlled laboratory experiments.