Plasma-based accelerators

Definition

Plasma-based accelerators use plasmas to increase the kinetic energy of charged particles such as electrons, protons, and ions. Plasma-based accelerators usually use laser-produced plasmas in which charge neutrality is broken in a localized area. The plasma-based approach enables devices much smaller than conventional particle accelerators.

Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • Comments and Opinion |

    Oliver Pike explains to Nature Photonics that the so far elusive electron–positron pair production from light may now be possible using existing technology.

  • News and Views |

    Laser systems designed for fusion research are able to produce a high density of X-ray photons in a metal cavity. Scientists have now proposed that this environment could be used to create matter from light and test a fundamental prediction of quantum electrodynamics.

    • Alexander Thomas
    Nature Photonics 8, 429–431
  • Comments and Opinion |

    Could massive arrays of thousands of fibre lasers be the driving force behind next-generation particle accelerators? The International Coherent Amplification Network project believes so and is currently performing a feasibility study.

    • Gerard Mourou
    • , Bill Brocklesby
    • , Toshiki Tajima
    •  & Jens Limpert
    Nature Photonics 7, 258–261
  • News and Views |

    Observations made by the Cassini spacecraft at the bow shock of Saturn suggest that electrons are likely to be accelerated to near-relativistic energies by strong astrophysical shocks.

    • Ian G. Richardson
    Nature Physics 9, 131–132