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The efficiency of the “forced laser wakefield” regime has recently been demonstrated, with the acceleration of electrons up to 200 MeV with a short pulse, 10 Hz laser [V. Malka etal, Science 298, 1596 (2002)]. Numerical simulations presented in this letter provide strong indications that the resulting electron bunches also have very short durations, less than 100 fs. All these features combine to suggest a number of interesting applications for such a source. We discuss its use as a high-energy injector for conventional accelerators, and assess the characteristics of the x-ray pulses that could be obtained via the channelling effect or Thomson scattering with this electron pulse. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.