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A table-top laser-based source of short, collimated, ultra-relativistic positron beams

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  • G. Sarri
  • W. Schumaker
  • A. Di Piazza
  • M. Vargas
  • B. Dromey
  • M. E. Dieckmann
  • V. Chvykov
  • A. Maksimchuk
  • V. Yanovsky
  • Z. -H. He
  • B. X. Hou
  • John A. Nees
  • Alexander George Roy Thomas
  • C. H. Keitel
  • M. Zepf
  • Karl Krushelnick
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>15/04/2013
<mark>Journal</mark>Proceedings of SPIE
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


An ultra-relativistic electron beam passing through a thick, high-Z solid target triggers an electromagnetic cascade, whereby a large number of high energy photons and electron-positron pairs are produced. By exploiting this physical process, we present here the first experimental evidence of the generation of ultra-short, highly collimated and ultra-relativistic positron beams following the interaction of a laser-wakefield accelerated electron beam with high-Z solid targets. Clear evidence has also been obtained of the generation of GeV electron-positron jets with variable composition depending on the solid target material and thickness. The percentage of positrons in the overall leptonic beam has been observed to vary from a few per cent up to almost fifty per cent, implying a quasi-neutral electron-positron beam. We anticipate that these beams will be of direct relevance to the laboratory study of astrophysical leptonic jets and their interaction with the interstellar medium.