The laser wake-field accelerator (LWFA) traditionally produces high brightness, quasi-monoenergetic electron beams with Gaussian-like spatial and angular distributions. In the present work we investigate the generation of ultra-relativistic beams with ring-like structures in the blowout regime of the LWFA using a dual stage accelerator. A density down-ramp triggers injection after the first stage and is used to produce ring-like electron spectra in the 300 - 600 MeV energy range. These well defined, annular beams are observed simultaneously with the on-axis, high energy electron beams, with a divergence of a few milliradians. The rings have quasi-monoenergetic energy spectra with an RMS spread estimated to be less than 5%. Particle-in-cell simulations confirm that off-axis injection provides the electrons with the initial transverse momentum necessary to undertake distinct betatron oscillations within the plasma bubble during their acceleration process.
The construction of 10 PW class laser facilities with unprecedented intensities has emphasized the need for a thorough understanding of the radiation reaction process. We describe simulations for a recent all-optical colliding pulse experiment, where a GeV scale electron bunch produced by a laser wakefield accelerator interacted with a counter-propagating laser pulse. In the rest frame of the electron bunch, the electric field of the laser pulse is increased by several orders of magnitude, approaching the Schwinger field and leading to substantial variation from the classical Landau-Lifshitz model. Our simulations show how the final electron and photon spectra may allow us to differentiate between stochastic and semi-classical models of radiation reaction, even when there is significant shot-to-shot variation in the experimental parameters. In particular, constraints are placed on the maximum energy spread and shot-to-shot variation permissible if a stochastic model is to be proven with confidence.