Publications


Wakefields in a cluster plasma

Physical Review Special Topics: Accelerators and Beams American Physical Society 22 (2019) 113501

M Mayr, L Ceurvorst, M Kasim, J Sadler, B Spiers, K Glize, A Savin, N Bourgeois, F Keeble, A Ross, D Symes, R Aboushelbaya, R Fonseca, J Holloway, N Ratan, R Trines, R Wang, R Bingham, P Burrows, M Wing, R Pattathil, P Norreys

We report the first comprehensive study of large amplitude Langmuir waves in a plasma of nanometer-scale clusters. Using an oblique angle single-shot frequency domain holography diagnostic, the shape of these wakefields is captured for the first time. The wavefronts are observed to curve backwards, in contrast to the forwards curvature of wakefields in uniform plasma. Due to the expansion of the clusters, the first wakefield period is longer than those trailing it. The features of the data are well described by fully relativistic two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations and by a quasianalytic solution for a one-dimensional, nonlinear wakefield in a cluster plasma.


Energy absorption in the laser-QED regime

Scientific Reports Springer Nature 9 (2019) 8956

A Savin, A Ross, R Aboushelbaya, M Mayr, B Spiers, R Wang, P Norreys

A theoretical and numerical investigation of non-ponderomotive absorption at laser intensities relevant to quantum electrodynamics is presented. It is predicted that there is a regime change in the dependence of fast electron energy on incident laser energy that coincides with the onset of pair production via the Breit-Wheeler process. This prediction is numerically verified via an extensive campaign of QED-inclusive particle-in-cell simulations. The dramatic nature of the power law shift leads to the conclusion that this process is a candidate for an unambiguous signature that future experiments on multi-petawatt laser facilities have truly entered the QED regime.


Kinetic simulations of fusion ignition with hot-spot ablator mix

Physical Review E American Physical Society 100 (2019) 033206

J Sadler, Y Lu, B Spiers, M Mayr, A Savin, R Wang, R Aboushelbaya, K Glize, R Bingham, H Li, K Flippo, P Norreys

Inertial confinement fusion fuel suffers increased X-ray radiation losses when carbon from the capsule ablator mixes into the hot-spot. Here we present one and two-dimensional ion VlasovFokker-Planck simulations that resolve hot-spot self heating in the presence a localised spike of carbon mix, totalling 1.9 % of the hot-spot mass. The mix region cools and contracts over tens of picoseconds, increasing its alpha particle stopping power and radiative losses. This makes a localised mix region more severe than an equal amount of uniformly distributed mix. There is also a purely kinetic effect that reduces fusion reactivity by several percent, since faster ions in the tail of the distribution are absorbed by the mix region. Radiative cooling and contraction of the spike induces fluid motion, causing neutron spectrum broadening. This artificially increases the inferred experimental ion temperatures and gives line of sight variations.


Orbital angular momentum coupling in elastic photon-photon scattering

Physical Review Letters American Physical Society 123 (2019) 113604

R Aboushelbaya, K Glize, A Savin, M Mayr, B Spiers, R Wang, J Collier, M Marklund, R Trines, R Bingham, P Norreys

In this Letter, we investigate the effect of orbital angular momentum (OAM) on elastic photon-photon scattering in a vacuum for the first time. We define exact solutions to the vacuum electromagnetic wave equation which carry OAM. Using those, the expected coupling between three initial waves is derived in the framework of an effective field theory based on the Euler-Heisenberg Lagrangian and shows that OAM adds a signature to the generated photons thereby greatly improving the signal-to-noise ratio. This forms the basis for a proposed high-power laser experiment utilizing quantum optics techniques to filter the generated photons based on their OAM state.


First demonstration of ARC-accelerated proton beams at the National Ignition Facility

Physics of Plasmas 26 (2019)

D Mariscal, T Ma, SC Wilks, AJ Kemp, GJ Williams, P Michel, H Chen, PK Patel, BA Remington, M Bowers, L Pelz, MR Hermann, W Hsing, D Martinez, R Sigurdsson, M Prantil, A Conder, J Lawson, M Hamamoto, P Di Nicola, C Widmayer, D Homoelle, R Lowe-Webb, S Herriot, W Williams, D Alessi, D Kalantar, R Zacharias, C Haefner, N Thompson, T Zobrist, D Lord, N Hash, A Pak, N Lemos, M Tabak, C McGuffey, J Kim, FN Beg, MS Wei, P Norreys, A Morace, N Iwata, Y Sentoku, D Neely, GG Scott, K Flippo

© 2019 Author(s). New short-pulse kilojoule, Petawatt-class lasers, which have recently come online and are coupled to large-scale, many-beam long-pulse facilities, undoubtedly serve as very exciting tools to capture transformational science opportunities in high energy density physics. These short-pulse lasers also happen to reside in a unique laser regime: very high-energy (kilojoule), relatively long (multi-picosecond) pulse-lengths, and large (10s of micron) focal spots, where their use in driving energetic particle beams is largely unexplored. Proton acceleration via Target Normal Sheath Acceleration (TNSA) using the Advanced Radiographic Capability (ARC) short-pulse laser at the National Ignition Facility in the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is demonstrated for the first time, and protons of up to 18 MeV are measured using laser irradiation of >1 ps pulse-lengths and quasi-relativistic (∼10 18 W/cm 2 ) intensities. This is indicative of a super-ponderomotive electron acceleration mechanism that sustains acceleration over long (multi-picosecond) time-scales and allows for proton energies to be achieved far beyond what the well-established scalings of proton acceleration via TNSA would predict at these modest intensities. Furthermore, the characteristics of the ARC laser (large ∼100 μm diameter focal spot, flat spatial profile, multi-picosecond, relatively low prepulse) provide acceleration conditions that allow for the investigation of 1D-like particle acceleration. A high flux ∼ 50 J of laser-accelerated protons is experimentally demonstrated. A new capability in multi-picosecond particle-in-cell simulation is applied to model the data, corroborating the high proton energies and elucidating the physics of multi-picosecond particle acceleration.


Observation of Laser Power Amplification in a Self-Injecting Laser Wakefield Accelerator

Physical Review Letters 120 (2018)

MJV Streeter, S Kneip, MS Bloom, RA Bendoyro, O Chekhlov, AE Dangor, A Döpp, CJ Hooker, J Holloway, J Jiang, NC Lopes, H Nakamura, PA Norreys, CAJ Palmer, PP Rajeev, J Schreiber, DR Symes, M Wing, SPD Mangles, Z Najmudin

© 2018 American Physical Society. We report on the depletion and power amplification of the driving laser pulse in a strongly driven laser wakefield accelerator. Simultaneous measurement of the transmitted pulse energy and temporal shape indicate an increase in peak power from 187±11 TW to a maximum of 318±12 TW after 13 mm of propagation in a plasma density of 0.9×1018 cm-3. The power amplification is correlated with the injection and acceleration of electrons in the nonlinear wakefield. This process is modeled by including a localized redshift and subsequent group delay dispersion at the laser pulse front.


Single-shot frequency-resolved optical gating for retrieving the pulse shape of high energy picosecond pulses

Review of Scientific Instruments AIP Publishing 89 (2018) 103509

R Aboushelbaya, A Savin, L Ceurvorst, J Sadler, PA Norreys, AS Davies, DH Froula, A Boyle, M Galimberti, P Oliveira, B Parry, Y Katzir, K Glize

Accurate characterization of laser pulses used in experiments is a crucial step to the analysis of their results. In this paper, a novel single-shot frequency-resolved optical gating (FROG) device is described, one that incorporates a dispersive element which allows it to fully characterize pulses up to 25 ps in duration with a 65 fs per pixel temporal resolution. A newly developed phase retrieval routine based on memetic algorithms is implemented and shown to circumvent the stagnation problem that often occurs with traditional FROG analysis programs when they encounter a local minimum.


AWAKE readiness for the study of the seeded self-modulation of a 400GeV proton bunch

PLASMA PHYSICS AND CONTROLLED FUSION 60 (2017) ARTN 014046

P Muggli, E Adli, R Apsimon, F Asmus, R Baartman, A-M Bachmann, MB Marin, F Batsch, J Bauche, VKB Olsen, M Bernardini, B Biskup, EB Vinuela, A Boccardi, T Bogey, T Bohl, C Bracco, F Braunmuller, S Burger, G Burt, S Bustamante, B Buttenschoen, A Butterworth, A Caldwell, M Cascella, E Chevallay, M Chung, H Damerau, L Deacon, A Dexter, P Dirksen, S Doebert, J Farmer, V Fedosseev, T Feniet, G Fior, R Fiorito, R Fonseca, F Friebel, P Gander, S Gessner, I Gorgisyan, AA Gorn, O Grulke, E Gschwendtner, A Guerrero, J Hansen, C Hessler, W Hofle, J Holloway, M Huther, M Ibison, MR Islam, L Jensen, S Jolly, M Kasim, F Keeble, S-Y Kim, F Kraus, A Lasheen, T Lefevre, G LeGodec, Y Li, S Liu, N Lopes, KV Lotov, M Martyanov, S Mazzoni, DM Godoy, O Mete, VA Minakov, R Mompo, J Moody, MT Moreira, J Mitchell, C Mutin, P Norreys, E Oz, E Ozturk, W Pauw, A Pardons, C Pasquino, K Pepitone, A Petrenko, S Pitmann, G Plyushchev, A Pukhov, K Rieger, H Ruhl, J Schmidt, IA Shalimova, E Shaposhnikova, P Sherwood, L Silva, AP Sosedkin, R Speroni, RI Spitsyn, K Szczurek, J Thomas, PV Tuev, M Turner, V Verzilov, J Vieira, H Vincke, CP Welsch, B Williamson, M Wing, G Xia, H Zhang, AWAKE Collaboration


Channel optimization of high-intensity laser beams in millimeter-scale plasmas

Physical Review E American Physical Society 97 (2018) 043208

L Ceurvorst, A Savin, N Ratan, J Sadler, P Norreys, H Habara, KA Tanaka, S Zhang, Wei, S Ivancic, D Froula, W Theobald

Channeling experiments were performed at the OMEGA EP facility using relativistic intensity ( > 10 18 W / cm 2 ) kilojoule laser pulses through large density scale length ( ∼ 390 – 570 μ m ) laser-produced plasmas, demonstrating the effects of the pulse's focal location and intensity as well as the plasma's temperature on the resulting channel formation. The results show deeper channeling when focused into hot plasmas and at lower densities, as expected. However, contrary to previous large-scale particle-in-cell studies, the results also indicate deeper penetration by short (10 ps), intense pulses compared to their longer-duration equivalents. This new observation has many implications for future laser-plasma research in the relativistic regime.


Advantages to a diverging Raman amplifier

Communications Physics Nature Publishing Group 1 (2018) 19

J Sadler, LO Silva, RA Fonseca, K Glize, M Kasim, A Savin, R Aboushelbaya, M Mayr, B Spiers, RH-W Wang, R Bingham, RMGM Trines, P Norreys

The plasma Raman instability can efficiently compress a nanosecond long high power laser pulse to sub-picosecond duration. Although many authors envisaged a converging beam geometry for Raman amplification, here we propose the exact opposite geometry; the amplification should start at the intense focus of the seed. We generalise the coupled laser envelope equations to include this non-collimated case. The new geometry completely eradicates the usual trailing secondary peaks of the output pulse, which typically lower the efficiency by half. It also reduces, by orders of magnitude, the initial seed pulse energy required for efficient operation. As in the collimated case, the evolution is self-similar, although the temporal pulse envelope is different. A two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulation demonstrates efficient amplification of a diverging seed with only 0:3mJ energy. The pulse has no secondary peaks and almost constant intensity as it amplifies and diverges.


Observation of extremely strong shock waves in solids launched by petawatt laser heating

PHYSICS OF PLASMAS 24 (2017) ARTN 083115

KL Lancaster, APL Robinson, J Pasley, P Hakel, T Ma, K Highbarger, FN Beg, SN Chen, RL Daskalova, RR Freeman, JS Green, H Habara, P Jaanimagi, MH Key, J King, R Kodama, K Krushelnick, H Nakamura, M Nakatsutsumi, AJ MacKinnon, AG MacPhee, RB Stephens, L Van Woerkom, PA Norreys


Attosecond-scale absorption at extreme intensities

Physics of Plasmas AIP Publishing 24 (2017) 113103

AF Savin, AJ Ross, M Serzans, RMGM Trines, L Ceurvorst, N Ratan, B Spiers, R Bingham, APL Robinson, P Norreys

A novel non-ponderomotive absorption mechanism, originally presented by Baeva et al. [Phys. Plasmas 18, 056702 (2011)] in one dimension, is extended into higher dimensions for the first time. This absorption mechanism, the Zero Vector Potential (ZVP), is expected to dominate the interactions of ultra-intense laser pulses with critically over-dense plasmas such as those that are expected with the Extreme Light Infrastructure laser systems. It is shown that the mathematical form of the ZVP mechanism and its key scaling relations found by Baeva et al. in 1D are identically reproduced in higher dimensions. The two dimensional particle-in-cell simulations are then used to validate both the qualitative and quantitative predictions of the theory.


Brilliant X-rays using a two-stage plasma insertion device

Scientific Reports Springer Nature 7 (2017) 3985

JA Holloway, P Norreys, AGR Thomas, R Bartolini, R Bingham, J Nydell, RMGM Trines, R Walker, M Wing

Particle accelerators have made an enormous impact in all fields of natural sciences, from elementary particle physics, to the imaging of proteins and the development of new pharmaceuticals. Modern light sources have advanced many fields by providing extraordinarily bright, short X-ray pulses. Here we present a novel numerical study, demonstrating that existing third generation light sources can significantly enhance the brightness and photon energy of their X-ray pulses by undulating their beams within plasma wakefields. This study shows that a three order of magnitude increase in X-ray brightness and over an order of magnitude increase in X-ray photon energy is achieved by passing a 3 GeV electron beam through a two-stage plasma insertion device. The production mechanism micro-bunches the electron beam and ensures the pulses are radially polarised on creation. We also demonstrate that the micro-bunched electron beam is itself an effective wakefield driver that can potentially accelerate a witness electron beam up to 6 GeV.


Nonlinear parametric resonance of relativistic electrons with a linearly polarized laser pulse in a plasma channel

Physics of Plasmas American Institute of Physics 24 (2017) 043105-

TW Huang, CT Zhou, APL Robinson, B Qiao, AV Arefiev, P Norreys, XT He, SC Ruan

The direct laser-acceleration mechanism, nonlinear parametric resonance, of relativistic electrons in a linearly polarized laser-produced plasma channel is examined by a self-consistent model including the relativistic laser dispersion in plasmas. Nonlinear parametric resonance can be excited, and the oscillation amplitude of electrons grows exponentially when the betatron frequency of electron motion varies roughly twice the natural frequency of the oscillator. It is shown analytically that the region of parametric resonance is defined by the self-similar parameter ne/nca0. The width of this region decreases with ne/nca0, but the energy gain and oscillation amplitude increases. In this regime, the electron transverse momentum grows faster than that in the linear classical resonance regime.


Machine learning applied to proton radiography of high-energy-density plasmas

Physical Review E American Physical Society 95 (2017) 043305-

NFY Chen, MF Kasim, L Ceurvorst, N Ratan, J Sadler, MC Levy, R Trines, R Bingham, P Norreys

Proton radiography is a technique extensively used to resolve magnetic field structures in high-energy-density plasmas, revealing a whole variety of interesting phenomena such as magnetic reconnection and collisionless shocks found in astrophysical systems. Existing methods of analyzing proton radiographs give mostly qualitative results or specific quantitative parameters, such as magnetic field strength, and recent work showed that the line-integrated transverse magnetic field can be reconstructed in specific regimes where many simplifying assumptions were needed. Using artificial neural networks, we demonstrate for the first time 3D reconstruction of magnetic fields in the nonlinear regime, an improvement over existing methods, which reconstruct only in 2D and in the linear regime. A proof of concept is presented here, with mean reconstruction errors of less than 5% even after introducing noise. We demonstrate that over the long term, this approach is more computationally efficient compared to other techniques. We also highlight the need for proton tomography because (i) certain field structures cannot be reconstructed from a single radiograph and (ii) errors can be further reduced when reconstruction is performed on radiographs generated by proton beams fired in different directions.


Quantitative shadowgraphy and proton radiography for large intensity modulations

Physical Review E - Statistical Physics, Plasmas, Fluids, and Related Interdisciplinary Topics American Physical Society (2017)

M Kasim, L Ceurvorst, N Ratan, J Sadler, N Chen, A Savert, R Trines, R Bingham, PN Burrows, MC Kaluza, P Norreys

Shadowgraphy is a technique widely used to diagnose objects or systems in various fields in physics and engineering. In shadowgraphy, an optical beam is deflected by the object and then the intensity modulation is captured on a screen placed some distance away. However, retrieving quantitative information from the shadowgrams themselves is a challenging task because of the non-linear nature of the process. Here, a novel method to retrieve quantitative information from shadowgrams, based on computational geometry, is presented for the first time. This process can also be applied to proton radiography for electric and magnetic field diagnosis in high-energy-density plasmas and has been benchmarked using a toroidal magnetic field as the object, among others. It is shown that the method can accurately retrieve quantitative parameters with error bars less than 10%, even when caustics are present. The method is also shown to be robust enough to process real experimental results with simple pre- and post-processing techniques. This adds a powerful new tool for research in various fields in engineering and physics for both techniques.


Optimization of plasma amplifiers

Physical Review E American Physical Society (2017)

JD Sadler, RMGM Trines, M Tabak, D Haberberger, DH Froula, AS Davies, S Bucht, LO Silva, EP Alves, F Fiuza, L Ceurvorst, N Ratan, MF Kasim, R Bingham, P Norreys

Plasma amplifiers offer a route to side-step limitations on chirped pulse amplification and generate laser pulses at the power frontier. They compress long pulses by transferring energy to a shorter pulse via the Raman or Brillouin instabilities.We present an extensive kinetic numerical study of the three-dimensional parameter space for the Raman case. Further particle-in-cell simulations find the optimal seed pulse parameters for experimentally relevant constraints. The high-efficiency self-similar behavior is observed only for seeds shorter than the linear Raman growth time. A test case similar to an upcoming experiment at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics is found to maintain good transverse coherence and high-energy efficiency. Effective compression of a 10 kJ, nanosecond-long driver pulse is also demonstrated in a 15-cm-long amplifier.


Robustness of raman plasma amplifiers and their potential for attosecond pulse generation

High Energy Density Physics Elsevier 23 (2017) 212–216-

JD Sadler, M Sliwa, T Miller, MF Kasim, N Ratan, L Ceurvorst, A Savin, R Aboushelbaya, P Norreys, D Haberberger, AS Davies, S Bucht, DH Froula, J Vieira, RA Fonseca, LO Silva, R Bingham, K Glize, RMGM Trines

Raman back-scatter from an under-dense plasma can be used to compress laser pulses, as shown by several previous experiments in the optical regime. A short seed pulse counter-propagates with a longer pump pulse and energy is transferred to the shorter pulse via stimulated Raman scattering. The robustness of the scheme to non-ideal plasma density conditions is demonstrated through particle-in-cell simulations. The scale invariance of the scheme ensures that compression of XUV pulses from a free electron laser is also possible, as demonstrated by further simulations. The output is as short as 300 as, with energy typical of fourth generation sources.


High flux, beamed neutron sources employing deuteron-rich ion beams from D 2 O-ice layered targets

Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion Institute of Physics 59 (2017) 064004-

A Alejo, AG Krygier, H Ahmed, JT Morrison, RJ Clarke, J Fuchs, A Green, JS Green, D Jung, A Kleinschmidt, Z Najmudin, H Nakamura, P Norreys, M Notley, M Oliver, M Roth, L Vassura, M Zepf, M Borghesi, RR Freeman, S Kar

A forwardly-peaked bright neutron source was produced using a laser-driven, deuteron-rich ion beam in a pitcher-catcher scenario. A proton-free ion source was produced via target normal sheath acceleration from Au foils having a thin layer of D2O ice at the rear side, irradiated by sub-petawatt laser pulses (∼200 J, ∼750 fs) at peak intensity . The neutrons were preferentially produced in a beam of ∼70 FWHM cone along the ion beam forward direction, with maximum energy up to ∼40 MeV and a peak flux along the axis for neutron energy above 2.5 MeV. The experimental data is in good agreement with the simulations carried out for the d(d,n)3He reaction using the deuteron beam produced by the ice-layered target.


High Orbital Angular Momentum Harmonic Generation

Physical Review Letters American Physical Society 117 (2016)

J Vieira, RMGM Trines, RA Fonseca, JT Mendonça, R Bingham, P Norreys, LO Silva

We identify and explore a high orbital angular momentum (OAM) harmonics generation and amplification mechanism that manipulates the OAM independently of any other laser property, by preserving the initial laser wavelength, through stimulated Raman backscattering in a plasma. The high OAM harmonics spectra can extend at least up to the limiting value imposed by the paraxial approximation. We show with theory and particle-in-cell simulations that the orders of the OAM harmonics can be tuned according to a selection rule that depends on the initial OAM of the interacting waves. We illustrate the high OAM harmonics generation in a plasma using several examples including the generation of prime OAM harmonics. The process can also be realized in any nonlinear optical Kerr media supporting three-wave interactions.

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