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In a high average power free-electron laser (FEL) the wall-plug efficiency is of critical importance in determining the size, complexity, and cost of the overall system. The wall-plug efficiency for the FEL oscillator and amplifier (uniform and tapered wiggler) is strongly dependent on the energy recovery process. A theoretical model for electron beam dynamics in the energy recovery linac is derived and applied to the acceleration and deceleration of nano-Coulomb electron bunches for a tapered FEL amplifier. For the tapered amplifier, the spent electron beam exiting the wiggler consists of trapped and untrapped electrons. Decelerating these two populations using different phases of the radio-frequency wave in the recovery process enhances wall-plug efficiency. For the parameters considered here, the wall-plug efficiency for the tapered amplifier can be ~10% using this approach.
Date of Publication: Aug. 2010