In the coming years, a new generation of high-power laser facilities (such as the Extreme Light Infrastructure) will become operational, for which it is important to understand how the interaction with intense laser pulses affects the bulk properties of relativistic electron bunches. At such high field intensities, we expect both radiation reaction and quantum effects to have a dominant role to play in determining the dynamics. The reduction in relative energy spread (beam cooling) at the expense of mean beam energy predicted by classical theories of radiation reaction has been shown to occur equally in the longitudinal and transverse directions, whereas this symmetry is broken when the theory is extended to approximate certain quantum effects. The reduction in longitudinal cooling suggests that the effects of radiation reaction could be better observed in measurements of the transverse distribution, which for real-world laser pulses motivates the investigation of the angular dependence of the interaction. Using a stochastic single-photon emission model with a (Gaussian beam) focussed pulse, we find strong angular dependence of the stochastic heating.
The Abraham-Minkowski controversy is the debate surrounding the correct" form of the energy-momentum tensor of light in a medium. Over a century of theoretical and experimental studies have consistently produced conflicting results, with no consensus being found on how best to describe the influence of a material on the propagation of light. It has been argued that the total energy-momentum tensor for each of the theories, which includes both wave and material components, are equal. The difficulty in separating the full energy-momentum tensor is generally attributed to the fact that one cannot obtain the energy-momentum tensor of the medium for real materials. Non-linear electrodynamics provides an opportunity to approach the debate from an all optical set up, where the role of the medium is replaced by the vacuum under the influence of a strong background field. We derive, from first principles, the general form of the energy-momentum tensor in such theories, and use our results to shed some light on this long standing issue.