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Scaling of accelerating gradients and dephasing effects in channel-guided laser wakefield accelerators

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3 Author(s)
Hubbard, R.F. ; Plasma Phys. Div., Naval Res. Lab., Washington, DC, USA ; Sprangle, P. ; Hafizi, B.

Future wakefield accelerator (LWFA) experiments are expected to operate in the short pulse resonant regime and employ some form of laser guiding, such as a preformed plasma channel. Performance of an LWFA may be characterized by the maximum axial electric field E/sub m/, the dephasing length L/sub d/, and the corresponding dephasing limited energy gain W/sub d/. Dephasing is characterized by the normalized phase slippage rate /spl Delta//spl beta//sub p/, of the wakefield relative to a particle moving at the velocity of light. This paper presents analytical models for all of these quantities and compares them with results from simulations of channel-guided LWFAs. The simulations generally confirm the scaling predicted by the analytical models, agreeing within a few percent in most cases. The results show that with the proper choice of laser and channel parameters, the pulse will propagate at a nearly constant spot size r/sub M/ over many Rayleigh lengths and generate large accelerating electric fields. The spot size correction to the slippage rate is shown to be important in the LWFA regime, whereas /spl Delta//spl beta//sub p/, is essentially independent of laser intensity. An example is presented of a 25-TW, 100-fs laser pulse that produces a dephasing limited energy gain in excess of 1 GeV.

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Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:28 ,  Issue: 4 )