7 May 2017 Laser-assisted capillary discharge for enhanced guiding of tightly focused laser pulses at low densities
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Abstract
Laser-plasma accelerators (LPAs) rely on intense laser fields that create wakes in plasmas. Advancement in the field of LPAs depends on extending the laser-plasma interaction length. State-of-the-art accelerators make use of laser guiding by capillary discharge channels. The transverse density profile (channel depth) of such channels confines the laser, and the on-axis density determines the energy transfer to the wake. The transverse profile can be controlled by choosing the radius of the capillary, but laser-induced capillary damage occurs when the radius is reduced to achieve the required channel depth. Both the on-axis density and the transverse profile depend on the pressure inside the capillary before discharge. As the pressure is reduced to increase the interaction length, confinement of the laser beam is reduced. A scheme to improve laser guiding at low densities by locally heating the plasma with a secondary, nanosecond-scale heater laser has been implemented, and preliminary results are presented here. Heating of the plasma and modified confinement of the main laser pulse have been demonstrated.
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J. Daniels, A. J. Gonsalves, C. V. Pieronek, C. Benedetti, K. Nakamura, H.-S. Mao, S. S. Bulanov, C. B. Schroeder, S. Steinke, C. Toth, W. P. Leemans, "Laser-assisted capillary discharge for enhanced guiding of tightly focused laser pulses at low densities", Proc. SPIE 10240, Laser Acceleration of Electrons, Protons, and Ions IV, 102400N (7 May 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2267432; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2267432
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