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High repetition-rate wakefield electron source generated by few-millijoule, 30 fs laser pulses on a density downramp

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Article number053016
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>9/05/2013
<mark>Journal</mark>New Journal of Physics
Volume15
Number of pages11
<mark>State</mark>Published
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

We report on an experimental demonstration of laser wakefield electron acceleration using a sub-TW power laser by tightly focusing 30 fs laser pulses with an 8 mJ pulse energy on a 100 mu m scale gas target. The experiments are carried out at an unprecedented 0.5 kHz repetition rate, allowing 'real-time' optimization of accelerator parameters. Well-collimated and stable electron beams with quasi-monoenergetic peaks in the 100 keV range are measured. Particle-in-cell simulations show excellent agreement with the experimental results and suggest an acceleration mechanism based on electron trapping on the density downramp, due to the time-varying phase velocity of the plasma waves.