Abstract

We review our recent work on the various nonlinear optical processes that occur as an intense laser propagates through a relativistic plasma. These include the experimental observations of electron acceleration driven by laser-wakefield generation, relativistic self-focusing, waveguide formation and laser self-channeling.

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References

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  1. D. Umstadter and T. B. Norris, Eds., "Feature Issue on Optics of Relativistic Electrons," IEEE J. Quantum. Electron. 33, 1877{1968 (1997).
    [CrossRef]
  2. E. Esarey, P. Sprangle, J. Krall and A. Ting, "Overview of Plasma-Based Accelerator Concepts," IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci. PS-24, 252 (1996), and references cited therein.
    [CrossRef]
  3. D. Umstadter, S.-Y. Chen, A. Maksimchuk, G. Mourou, and R. Wagner, "Nonlinear Optics in Relativistic Plasmas and Laser Wakefield Acceleration of Electrons," Science 273, 472 (1996).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  4. A. Modena, Z. Najmudin, A.E. Dangor, C.E. Clayton, K.A. Marsh, C. Joshi, V. Malka, C.B. Darrow, C. Danson, D. Neely, and F.N. Walsh, "Electron Acceleration from the Breaking of Relativistic Plasma Waves", Nature, 377, 606, (1995).
    [CrossRef]
  5. R. Wagner, S.-Y. Chen, A. Maksimchuk and D. Umstadter, "Relativistically Self-Guided Laser Wakefield Acceleration," Phys. Rev. Lett. 78, 3122 (1997).
    [CrossRef]
  6. S.-Y. Chen, G. Sarkisov, A. Maksimchuk, R. Wagner and D. Umstadter, "Evolution of a Plasma Waveguide Created during Relativistic-Ponderomotive Self-Channeling of an Intense Laser Pulse," Phys. Rev. Lett. (submitted for publication, 1997).
  7. S. P. Le Blanc, M. C. Downer, R. Wagner, S.-Y. Chen, A. Maksimchuk, G. Mourou and D. Umstadter, "Temporal Characterization of a Self-Modulated Laser Wakefield," Phys. Rev. Lett. 77, 5381 (1996).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  8. K. Krushelnick, A. Ting, C.I. Moore, H.R. Burris, E. Esarey, P. Sprangle, and M. Baine, "Plasma Channel Formation and Guiding during High Intensity Short Pulse Laser Plasma Experiments," Phys. Rev. Lett. 78, 4047 (1997).
    [CrossRef]

Other (8)

D. Umstadter and T. B. Norris, Eds., "Feature Issue on Optics of Relativistic Electrons," IEEE J. Quantum. Electron. 33, 1877{1968 (1997).
[CrossRef]

E. Esarey, P. Sprangle, J. Krall and A. Ting, "Overview of Plasma-Based Accelerator Concepts," IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci. PS-24, 252 (1996), and references cited therein.
[CrossRef]

D. Umstadter, S.-Y. Chen, A. Maksimchuk, G. Mourou, and R. Wagner, "Nonlinear Optics in Relativistic Plasmas and Laser Wakefield Acceleration of Electrons," Science 273, 472 (1996).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

A. Modena, Z. Najmudin, A.E. Dangor, C.E. Clayton, K.A. Marsh, C. Joshi, V. Malka, C.B. Darrow, C. Danson, D. Neely, and F.N. Walsh, "Electron Acceleration from the Breaking of Relativistic Plasma Waves", Nature, 377, 606, (1995).
[CrossRef]

R. Wagner, S.-Y. Chen, A. Maksimchuk and D. Umstadter, "Relativistically Self-Guided Laser Wakefield Acceleration," Phys. Rev. Lett. 78, 3122 (1997).
[CrossRef]

S.-Y. Chen, G. Sarkisov, A. Maksimchuk, R. Wagner and D. Umstadter, "Evolution of a Plasma Waveguide Created during Relativistic-Ponderomotive Self-Channeling of an Intense Laser Pulse," Phys. Rev. Lett. (submitted for publication, 1997).

S. P. Le Blanc, M. C. Downer, R. Wagner, S.-Y. Chen, A. Maksimchuk, G. Mourou and D. Umstadter, "Temporal Characterization of a Self-Modulated Laser Wakefield," Phys. Rev. Lett. 77, 5381 (1996).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

K. Krushelnick, A. Ting, C.I. Moore, H.R. Burris, E. Esarey, P. Sprangle, and M. Baine, "Plasma Channel Formation and Guiding during High Intensity Short Pulse Laser Plasma Experiments," Phys. Rev. Lett. 78, 4047 (1997).
[CrossRef]

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Figures (4)

Figure 1.
Figure 1.

(left) The number of relativistic electrons accelerated as a function of incident laser power focused in a gas of helium at atmospheric density. (right) Normalized electron kinetic energy spectrum as a function of laser power at fixed electron density. The upper curves represent the spectra obtained when self-guiding was observed; the lower curves represent unguided spectra.

Figure 2.
Figure 2.

On-axis images (left) and corresponding lineouts (right) of sidescattered light at various laser powers and a fixed initial electron density of 3.6 × 1019 cm-3. The various images and lineouts represent laser powers of P/Pc = (a) 1.6, (b) 2.6, (c) 3.9, (d) 5.5, (e) 7.2, (f) 8.4, and (g) 9.1. Note: the curves have been displaced vertically for ease of viewing.

Figure 3.
Figure 3.

Electron beam divergence as a function of laser power. The various curves represent laser powers of P/Pc = (a) 3.4, (b) 5.0, (c) 6.0, and (d) 7.5. The two insert figures show the complete beam images for curves (a) and (c).

Figure 4.
Figure 4.

2-D plasma density distribution for 2.5 TW laser power and 2 × 1019 cm-3 gas density at different times: (a) 5 ps, (b) 15 ps, (c) 30 ps, and (d) 40 ps.

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