Research Highlights for Laser-Plasma Accelerators

Particle accelerators driven by intense laser pulses propagating through a plasma, i.e. an ionized gas, can generate acceleration fields a thousand times stronger than those used in “conventional” accelerators such as the LHC at CERN. In principle this could allow kilometre-scale machines to be shrunk to accelerators only a few metres long, but the approach used to date is limited in practice to operation at very low repetition rates (frep a few pulses per second or lower), whereas many real applications require frep above 1 kHz.