Plasma devices to guide and collimate a high density of MeV electrons

Kodama, R. ; Sentoku, Y. ; Chen, Z. L. ; Kumar, G. Ravindra ; Hatchett, S. P. ; Toyama, Y. ; Cowan, T. E. ; Freeman, R. R. ; Fuchs, J. ; Izawa, Y. ; Key, M. H. ; Kitagawa, Y. ; Kondo, K. ; Matsuoka, T. ; Nakamura, H. ; Nakatsutsumi, M. ; Norreys, P. A. ; Norimatsu, T. ; Snavely, R. A. ; Stephens, R. B. ; Tampo, M. ; Tanaka, K. A. ; Yabuuchi, T. (2004) Plasma devices to guide and collimate a high density of MeV electrons Nature, 432 . pp. 1005-1008. ISSN 0028-0836

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The development of ultra-intense lasers has facilitated new studies in laboratory astrophysics and high-density nuclear science, including laser fusion. Such research relies on the efficient generation of enormous numbers of high-energy charged particles. For example, laser-matter interactions at petawatt (1015 W) power levels can create pulses of MeV electrons with current densities as large as 1012 A cm-2. However, the divergence of these particle beams usually reduces the current density to a few times 106 A cm-2 at distances of the order of centimetres from the source. The invention of devices that can direct such intense, pulsed energetic beams will revolutionize their applications. Here we report high-conductivity devices consisting of transient plasmas that increase the energy density of MeV electrons generated in laser-matter interactions by more than one order of magnitude. A plasma fibre created on a hollow-cone target guides and collimates electrons in a manner akin to the control of light by an optical fibre and collimator. Such plasma devices hold promise for applications using high energy-density particles and should trigger growth in charged particle optics.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to Nature Publishing Group.
ID Code:29687
Deposited On:23 Dec 2010 05:35
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