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Laser wakefield acceleration with mid-IR laser pulses

Abstract

We report on, to the best of our knowledge, the first results of laser plasma wakefield acceleration driven by ultrashort mid-infrared (IR) laser pulses (λ=3.9μm, 100 fs, 0.25 TW), which enable near- and above-critical density interactions with moderate-density gas jets. Relativistic electron acceleration up to 12MeV occurs when the jet width exceeds the threshold scale length for relativistic self-focusing. We present scaling trends in the accelerated beam profiles, charge, and spectra, which are supported by particle-in-cell simulations and time-resolved images of the interaction. For similarly scaled conditions, we observe significant increases in the accelerated charge, compared to previous experiments with near-infrared (λ=800nm) pulses.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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