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 dynamics of ionization-induced electron injection in the high density (~ 1:2 × 10<sup>19</sup>cm<sup>-3</sup>) regime of Laser Wakefield Acceleration (LWFA) was investigated by analyzing betatron X-ray emission inside dielectric capillary tubes. A comparative study of the electron and betatron X-ray properties was performed for both self-injection and ionization-induced injection. Direct experimental evidence of early onset of ionization-induced injection into the plasma wave was obtained by mapping the X-ray emission zone inside the plasma. Particle-In-Cell (PIC) simulations showed that the early onset of ionization-induced injection, due to its lower trapping threshold, suppresses self-injection of electrons. An increase of X-ray fluence by at least a factor of two was observed in the case of ionization-induced injection due to an increased trapped charge compared to self-injection mechanism.