Plasma Accelerators

In a plasma accelerator an intense laser or particle beam is used to drive a longitudinal wave which trails the driving beam at close to the speed of light. The electric fields formed between the peaks and troughs of these plasma waves can reach 100 GV/m. This is at least three orders of magnitude greater than used in a conventional accelerator, and hence plasma accelerators offer the prospect of a new generation of extremely compact accelerators. As well as being small-scale, plasma accelerators have other important properties, such as delivering bunches of particles with durations of only a few femtoseconds; they could therefore provide a new tool for ultrafast time-resolved science.

Our work on plasma accelerators includes experimental and numerical simulations in a wide variety of topics including: studies of new methods for driving plasma waves; investigation of techniques for controlling electron injection, with the objective of improving the stability of the output beam; staging plasma accelerators to reach higher beam energies; and developing new diagnostics techniques for measuring the unique properties of laser-accelerated beams. We also work on applications of laser-driven accelerators, such as driving new compact sources of soft x-rays.

Links to these research topics are provided below:

]Plasma Accelerators and Ultrafast X-Rays[/url]
Novel accelerator diagnostics
Lasers for accelerators
Radiation sources

Related areas:
John Adams Institute for Accelerator Science