Publications by Simon Hooker


Transverse beam profile measurements of laser accelerated electrons using coherent optical radiation

AIP Conference Proceedings 1507 (2012) 258-261

N Bourgeois, M Heigoldt, W Rittershofer, A Popp, K Khrennikov, SI Bajlekov, S Karsh, SM Hooker

We use coherent optical transition radiation (COTR) to measure the transverse profile of laser-accelerated electron bunches. The retrieved electron beam profiles are compared to scintillator-based beam profile measurements. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.


Multiple pulse resonantly enhanced laser plasma wakefield acceleration

AIP Conference Proceedings 1507 (2012) 872-873

L Corner, R Walczak, LJ Nevay, S Dann, SM Hooker, N Bourgeois, J Cowley

We present an outline of experiments being conducted at Oxford University on multiple-pulse, resonantly-enhanced laser plasma wakefield acceleration. This method of laser plasma acceleration uses trains of optimally spaced low energy short pulses to drive plasma oscillations and may enable laser plasma accelerators to be driven by compact and efficient fibre laser sources operating at high repetition rates. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.


Electron acceleration driven in plasma channels at the Astra-Gemini laser facility

AIP Conference Proceedings 1507 (2012) 193-198

PA Walker, N Bourgeois, W Rittershofer, J Cowley, N Kajumba, AR Maier, J Wenz, CM Werle, DR Symes, PP Rajeev, SJ Hawkes, O Chekhlov, CJ Hooker, B Parry, Y Tang, VA Marshall, S Karsch, F Grüner, SM Hooker

The generation of GeV-scale electron beams in the plasma channel formed in a gas-filled capillary discharge waveguide is investigated. Electron beams with energies above 900 MeV and with root-mean-square divergence of 3.5 mrad are observed for plasma densities of 2.15 × 1018cm-3and a peak input laser power of only 55 TW. The variation of the electron energy with the plasma density is measured and found to exhibit a maximum at plasma densities for which the dephasing length approximately matches the length of the plasma channel. Injection and acceleration of electrons at the relatively low plasma density of 3.2 × 1017cm-3is observed. The energy spectra of the generated electron beams are shown to exhibit good shot-to-shot reproducibility, with the observed variations attributable to the measured shot-to-shot jitter of the laser parameters. Two methods for correcting for the effects on the measured energy spectrum of off-axis electron beam propagation are investigated. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.


Quasi-phase-matched high harmonic generation using trains of uniformly-spaced ultrafast pulses

High Intensity Lasers and High Field Phenomena, HILAS 2012 (2012)

K O'Keeffe, T Robinson, SM Hooker

We investigate quasi-phase-matching of high harmonic generation over a range of harmonic orders using trains of up to 8 uniformly-spaced counter-propagating pulses, produced using an array of birefringent crystals. © 2012 OSA.


High Harmonic Optical Generator (Polarization Beating 2/2)

(2012) UK Patent Application GB1207963.8

LZ Liu, K O'Keeffe, SM Hooker

A high harmonic optical generator comprising a laser arrangement and an optical waveguide, wherein the laser arrangement is configured to couple a beam of linearly polarized radiation at a fundamental frequency into the optical waveguide to provide a beam of optical driving radiation that propagates along a propagation axis of the optical waveguide, the optical waveguide has a hollow core for a gaseous harmonic generation medium for generation of high harmonics of the fundamental frequency, and the generator is configured for the driving radiation to have a polarization ellipticity that periodically varies along the propagation axis of the optical waveguide.


High Harmonic Optical Generator (Optical Rotation)

(2012) UK Patent Application GB1208753.2

LZ Liu, K O'Keeffe, SM Hooker

A high harmonic optical generator comprising a laser arrangement for emitting a beam of polarized radiation at a fundamental frequency and an optical waveguide having a hollow core for a gaseous harmonic generation medium for the generation of high harmonics of the fundamental frequency, the optical waveguide having an optical propagation axis along the hollow core, the laser arrangement is configured to couple the beam of polarized radiation along the propagation axis of the hollow core optical waveguide to provide a beam of optical driving radiation for the high harmonic generation, the optical driving radiation having a plane of polarization that rotates about the propagation axis.


Quasi-phase-matching of high-order-harmonic generation using polarization beating in optical waveguides

Phys Rev A 85 (2012) 053823

LZ Liu, K O'Keeffe, SM Hooker

A scheme for quasi-phase-matching high-harmonic generation is proposed in which polarization beating within a hollow core birefringent waveguide modulates the generation of harmonics. The evolution of the polarization of a laser pulse propagating in a birefringent waveguide is calculated and is shown to periodically modulate the harmonic generation process. The optimum conditions for achieving quasi-phase-matching using this scheme are explored and the growth of the harmonic intensity as a function of experimental parameters is investigated.


Quasi-phase-matched high harmonic generation using trains of uniformly-spaced ultrafast pulses

High Intensity Lasers and High Field Phenomena, HILAS 2012 (2012)

K O'Keeffe, T Robinson, SM Hooker

We investigate quasi-phase-matching of high harmonic generation over a range of harmonic orders using trains of up to 8 uniformly-spaced counter-propagating pulses, produced using an array of birefringent crystals. © 2012 OSA.


Optical rotation quasi-phase-matching for circularly polarized high harmonic generation

Optics Letters 37 (2012) 167066

LZ Liu, K O'Keeffe, SM Hooker


Quasi-phase-matched high harmonic generation using trains of uniformly-spaced ultrafast pulses

Optics InfoBase Conference Papers (2011)

K O'Keeffe, T Robinson, SM Hooker

We investigate quasi-phase-matching of high harmonic generation over a range of harmonic orders using trains of up to 8 uniformly-spaced counter-propagating pulses, produced using an array of birefringent crystals. © 2012 OSA.


High Harmonic Optical Generator (Polarization Beating 1/2)

(2011) UK Patent Application GB1117355.6

LZ Liu, K O'Keeffe, SM Hooker


Time-resolved plasma temperature measurements in a laser-triggered hydrogen-filled capillary discharge waveguide

Plasma Sources Science and Technology 20 (2011)

CJ Woolley, K O'Keeffe, HK Chung, SM Hooker

Temporally resolved, spatially integrated measurements of the temperature of the plasma channel formed by a hydrogen-filled discharge capillary waveguide are presented. Plasma temperatures of 4-7 eV are measured for peak discharge currents between 80 and 150 A. It is demonstrated that laser-triggering the capillary discharge enables capillary discharges with a peak current as low as 23 A to be driven, reducing the plasma temperature to approximately 3 eV. This plasma temperature meets the requirements of a recently proposed soft x-ray recombination laser. © 2011 IOP Publishing Ltd.


Simulation of free-electron lasers seeded with broadband radiation

Physical Review Special Topics - Accelerators and Beams 14 (2011)

SI Bajlekov, WM Fawley, CB Schroeder, R Bartolini, SM Hooker

The longitudinal coherence of free-electron laser (FEL) radiation can be enhanced by seeding the FEL with high harmonics of an optical laser pulse. The radiation produced by high-harmonic generation (HHG), however, has a fast-varying temporal profile that can violate the slowly varying envelope approximation and limited frequency window that is employed in conventional free-electron laser simulation codes. Here we investigate the implications of violating this approximation on the accuracy of simulations. On the basis of both analytical considerations and 1D numerical studies, it is concluded that, for most realistic scenarios, conventional FEL codes are capable of accurately simulating the FEL process even when the seed radiation violates the slowly varying envelope approximation. We additionally discuss the significance of filtering the harmonic content of broadband HHG seeds. © 2011 American Physical Society.


Investigation of the role of plasma channels as waveguides for laser-wakefield accelerators

New Journal of Physics 12 (2010)

TPA Ibbotson, N Bourgeois, TP Rowlands-Rees, LS Caballero, SI Bajlekov, PA Walker, S Kneip, M Spd, SR Nagel, P Caj, N Delerue, G Doucas, D Urner, O Chekhlov, RJ Clarke, E Divall, K Ertel, P Foster, SJ Hawkes, CJ Hooker, B Parry, PP Rajeev, MJV Streeter, SM Hooker

The role of plasma channels as waveguides for laser-wakefield accelerators is discussed in terms of the results of experiments performed with the Astra-Gemini laser, numerical simulations using the code WAKE, and the theory of self-focusing and self-guiding of intense laser beams. It is found that at a given electron density, electron beams can be accelerated using lower laser powers in a waveguide structure than in a gas-jet or cell. The transition between relativistically self-guided and channel-assisted guiding is seen in the simulations and in the behaviour of the production of electron beams. We also show that by improving the quality of the driving laser beam the threshold laser energy required to produce electron beams can be reduced by a factor of almost 2. The use of an aperture allows the production of a quasi-monoenergetic electron beam of energy 520 MeV with an input laser power of only 30 TW. © IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.


All-optical steering of laser-wakefield-accelerated electron beams

Physical Review Letters 105 (2010)

A Popp, J Vieira, J Osterhoff, Z Major, R Hörlein, M Fuchs, R Weingartner, TP Rowlands-Rees, M Marti, RA Fonseca, SF Martins, LO Silva, SM Hooker, F Krausz, F Grüner, S Karsch

We investigate the influence of a tilted laser-pulse-intensity front on laser-wakefield acceleration. Such asymmetric light pulses may be exploited to obtain control over the electron-bunch-pointing direction and in our case allowed for reproducible electron-beam steering in an all-optical way within an 8 mrad opening window with respect to the initial laser axis. We also discovered evidence of collective electron-betatron oscillations due to off-axis electron injection into the wakefield induced by a pulse-front tilt. These findings are supported by 3D particle-in-cell simulations. © 2010 The American Physical Society.


Laser-wakefield acceleration of electron beams in a low density plasma channel

Physical Review Special Topics - Accelerators and Beams 13 (2010)

TPA Ibbotson, N Bourgeois, TP Rowlands-Rees, LS Caballero, SI Bajlekov, PA Walker, S Kneip, SPD Mangles, SR Nagel, CAJ Palmer, N Delerue, G Doucas, D Urner, O Chekhlov, RJ Clarke, E Divall, K Ertel, PS Foster, SJ Hawkes, CJ Hooker, B Parry, PP Rajeev, MJV Streeter, SM Hooker

The generation of quasimonoenergetic electron beams, with energies greater than 500 MeV, in a laser-plasma accelerator driven by 2.5 J, 80 fs laser pulses guided in a low density plasma channel, is investigated. The laser energy required to achieve electron injection is found to depend strongly on the quality of the input laser focal spot. Simulations show that, although the matched spot size of the plasma channel is greater than the self-focused spot size, the channel assists relativistic self-focusing and enables electron injection to occur at lower plasma densities and laser powers than would be possible without a waveguide. © 2010 The American Physical Society.


Generation and control of ultrafast pulse trains for quasi-phase-matching high-harmonic generation

Journal of the Optical Society of America B: Optical Physics 27 (2010) 763-772

T Robinson, K O'Keeffe, M Zepf, B Dromey, SM Hooker

Two techniques are demonstrated to produce ultrashort pulse trains capable of quasi-phase-matching highharmonic generation. The first technique makes use of an array of birefringent crystals and is shown to generate high-contrast pulse trains with constant pulse spacing. The second technique employs a grating-pair stretcher, a multiple-order wave plate, and a linear polarizer. Trains of up to 100 pulses are demonstrated with this technique, with almost constant inter-pulse separation. It is shown that arbitrary pulse separation can be achieved by introducing the appropriate dispersion. This principle is demonstrated by using an acousto-optic programmable dispersive filter to introduce third- and fourth-order dispersions leading to a linear and quadratic variation of the separation of pulses through the train. Chirped-pulse trains of this type may be used to quasi-phase-match high-harmonic generation in situations where the coherence length varies through the medium. © 2010 Optical Society of America.


Generation and control of chirped, ultrafast pulse trains

Journal of Optics A: Pure and Applied Optics 12 (2010)

K O'Keeffe, T Robinson, SM Hooker

A method for generating non-uniformly spaced (chirped) trains of high-energy, high-contrast, femtosecond pulses is described and demonstrated. In this method a temporally stretched laser pulse is passed through an acousto-optic programmable dispersive filter (AOPDF), a birefringent plate, and a linear polarizer. It is demonstrated that linear and nonlinear variation of the pulse separation within the train may be controlled by changing respectively the third-and fourth-order dispersion introduced by the AOPDF. Programmable, non-uniform pulse trains of this type may find applications in quasi-phase matching high-harmonic generation. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.


First milestone on the path toward a table-top free-electron laser (FEL)

AIP Conference Proceedings 1228 (2010) 295-300

M Fuchs, R Weingartner, A Popp, Z Major, S Becker, J Osterhoff, T Seggebrock, R Hörlein, GD Tsakiris, U Schramm, TP Rowlands-Rees, SM Hooker, D Habs, F Krausz, S Karsch, F Grüner

Latest developments in the field of laser-wakefield accelerators (LWFAs) have led to relatively stable electron beams in terms of peak energy, charge, pointing and divergence from mmsized accelerators. Simulations and LWFA theory indicate that these beams have low transverse emittances and ultrashort bunch durations on the order of ∼ 10 fs. These features make LWFAs perfectly suitable for driving high-brightness X-ray undulator sources and free-electron lasers (FELs) on a university-laboratory scale.With the detection of soft-X-ray radiation from an undulator source driven by laser-wakefield accelerated electrons, we succeeded in achieving a first milestone on this path. The source delivers remarkably stable photon beams which is mainly due to the stable electron beam and our miniature magnetic quadrupole lenses, which significantly reduce its divergence and angular shot-to-shot variation. An increase in electron energy allows for compact, tunable, hard-Xray undulator sources. Improvements of the electron beams in terms of charge and energy spread will put table-top FELs within reach. © 2010 American Institute of Physids.


Laser Physics

Oxford University Press, 2010
Part of a series from Oxford Master Series in Atomic, Optical, and Laser Physics

SM Hooker, CE Webb

In this book the interaction of radiation and matter, and the principles of laser operation are treated at a level suitable for fourth-year undergraduate ...

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