Traveling-Wave Thomson-Scattering (TWTS) allows for the realization of optical free-electron lasers (OFELs) from the interaction of short, high-power laser pulses with brilliant relativistic electron bunches. The laser field provides the optical undulator which is traversed by the electrons. In order to achieve coherent amplification of radiation through electron microbunching the interaction between electrons and laser must be maintained over hundreds to thousands of undulator periods. Traveling-Wave Thomson-Scattering is the only scattering geometry so far allowing for the realization of optical undulators of this length which is at the same time scalable from extreme ultraviolet to X-ray photon energies. TWTS is also applicable for the realization of incoherent high peak brightness hard X-ray to gamma-ray sources which can provide orders of magnitude higher photon output than classic head-on Thomson sources.
In contrast to head-on Thomson sources TWTS employs a side-scattering geometry where laser and electron propagation direction of motion enclose an angle. Tilting the laser pulse front with respect to the wave front by half of this interaction angle optimizes electron and laser pulse overlap. In the side-scattering geometry the tilt of the pulse-front compensates the spatial offset between electrons and laser pulse-front which would be present otherwise for an electron bunch far from the interaction point where it overlaps with the laser pulse center. Thus the laser pulse-front tilt ensures continuous overlap between laser pulse and electrons while these traverse the laser pulse cross-sectional area. This allows to control the interaction distance in TWTS by the laser pulse width rather than laser pulse duration as is the case for head-on Thomson scattering. Utilizing petawatt class laser pulses with millimeter to centimeter scale width allows for the realization of compact optical undulators with thousands of periods.
When laser pulses for TWTS are prepared, care has to be taken of laser dispersion. Especially for scenarios featuring interaction angles of several ten to over one hundred degree the angular dispersion originating from laser pulse-front tilt can significantly prolong the pulse duration during the interaction which leads to a decrease in optical undulator amplitude and eventually terminates the interaction long before the target interaction distance is reached. In the talk it is shown how a pair of two gratings can be used to first generate the pulse-front tilt and second control and compensate dispersion during the interaction by utilizing the plane of optimum compression. Furthermore an experimental setup strategy is presented allowing for an interaction outside the laser pulse focus. This is a necessity for TWTS OFELs requiring focusing to reach optical undulator strengths on the order of unity since the centimeter scale laser pulse width at the interaction point result in turn in Rayleigh lengths on the order of one hundred meter and thus in laser focusing distances of several hundred meter. The talk shows how an out-of-focus interaction geometry utilizing strong focusing of the incident laser pulse needs to be designed in order to regain compactness by reducing the focusing distance by one to two orders of magnitude.
Klaus Steiniger, Daniel Albach, Alexander Debus, Markus Loeser, Richard Pausch, Fabian Roeser, Ulrich Schramm, Matthias Siebold, and Michael Bussmann, "Scaling EUV and X-ray Thomson sources to optical free-electron laser operation with traveling-wave Thomson scattering (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10234, Relativistic Plasma Waves and Particle Beams as Coherent and Incoherent Radiation Sources II, 1023409 (Presented at SPIE Optics + Optoelectronics: April 27, 2017; Published: 21 June 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2265690.5463398346001.
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