A laser pulse traveling through a plasma can excite large amplitude plasma waves that can be used to accelerate relativistic electron beams in a very short distance-a technique called laser wakefield acceleration. Many wakefield acceleration experiments rely on the process of wave breaking, or self-injection, to inject electrons into the wave, while other injection techniques rely on operation without self-injection. We present an experimental study into the parameters, including the pulse energy, focal spot quality, and pulse power, that determine whether or not a wakefield accelerator will self-inject. By taking into account the processes of self-focusing and pulse compression we are able to extend a previously described theoretical model, where the minimum bubble size k pr b required for trapping is not constant but varies slowly with density and find excellent agreement with this model. Published by American Physical Society Published by the American Physical Society under the terms of the http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ 3.0/ Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the published article's title, journal citation, and DOI.
|Journal||Physical Review Special Topics: Accelerators and Beams|
|Publication status||Published - 19 Jan 2012|
|MoE publication type||Not Eligible|