Plasma devices to guide and collimate a high density of MeV electrons

Abstract

The development of ultra-intense lasers1 has facilitated new studies in laboratory astrophysics2 and high-density nuclear science3, including laser fusion4,5,6,7. Such research relies on the efficient generation of enormous numbers of high-energy charged particles. For example, laser–matter interactions at petawatt (1015 W) power levels can create pulses of MeV electrons8,9,10 with current densities as large as 1012 A cm-2. However, the divergence of these particle beams5 usually reduces the current density to a few times 106 A cm-2 at distances of the order of centimetres from the source. The invention of devices that can direct such intense, pulsed energetic beams will revolutionize their applications. Here we report high-conductivity devices consisting of transient plasmas that increase the energy density of MeV electrons generated in laser–matter interactions by more than one order of magnitude. A plasma fibre created on a hollow-cone target guides and collimates electrons in a manner akin to the control of light by an optical fibre and collimator. Such plasma devices hold promise for applications using high energy-density particles and should trigger growth in charged particle optics.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Two-dimensional cartesian particle-in-cell (PIC) simulation modelling the device consisting of hollow-cone and fine fibre-like plasmas.
Figure 2: Demonstration of guiding and collimation of high-density MeV electrons generated by 0.3 PW laser light using a fine carbon wire attached to a gold hollow-cone target.
Figure 3: Expansion of the fibre-like plasma heated by high-density energetic electrons propagating along the wire.
Figure 4: Collimation of MeV electrons in the shaped plasma conductors and enhancement of the electron peak flux with the collimators.

References

  1. 1

    Perry, M. D. & Mourrou, G. Terawatt to petawatt subpicosecond lasers. Science 264, 917–924 (1994)

  2. 2

    Remington, B. A., Arnet, D., Drake, R. P. & Takabe, H. Modeling astrophysical phenomena in the laboratory with intense lasers. Science 284, 1488–1493 (1999)

  3. 3

    Ledingham, K. W. D., McKenna, P. & Singhal, R. P. Applications for nuclear phenomena generated by ultra-intense lasers. Science 300, 1107–1111 (2003)

  4. 4

    Tabak, M. et al. Ignition and high gain with ultra powerful lasers. Phys. Plasmas 1, 1626–1634 (1994)

  5. 5

    Kodama, R. et al. Fast heating of ultrahigh-density plasma as a step towards laser fusion ignition. Nature 412, 798–802 (2001)

  6. 6

    Key, M. H. Fast track to fusion energy. Nature 412, 775–776 (2001)

  7. 7

    Kodama, R. et al. Fast heating scalable to laser fusion ignition. Nature 418, 933–934 (2002)

  8. 8

    Wharton, K. B. et al. Experimental measurements of hot electrons generated by ultraintense (> 1019W/cm2) laser plasma interactions on solid-density targets. Phys. Rev. Lett. 81, 822–825 (1998)

  9. 9

    Key, M. H. et al. Hot electron production and heating by hot electrons in fast ignitor research. Phys. Plasmas 5, 1966–1972 (1998)

  10. 10

    Kodama, R. et al. Fast ignition research at the Institute of Laser Engineering Osaka University. Phys. Plasmas 8, 2268–2274 (2001)

  11. 11

    Sentoku, Y. et al. Laser light and hot electron micro focusing using a conical target. Phys. Plasmas 11, 3083–3087 (2004)

  12. 12

    Kitagawa, Y. et al. Prepulse-free petawatt laser for a fast ignitor. IEEE J. Quant. Electron. 40, 281–293 (2004)

  13. 13

    Kodama, R. et al. in Inertial Fusion Science and Application 2003 (eds Hammel, B. A., Meyerhofer, D. D., Meyer-ter-Vehn, J. & Azechi, H.) 333–338 (American Nuclear Society, Illinois, 2004)

  14. 14

    Kodama, R. et al. Development of a two-dimensional space-resolved high speed sampling camera. Rev. Sci. Instrum. 70, 625–628 (1999)

  15. 15

    Zimmerman, G. B. & Kruer, W. L. Numerical simulation of laser-initiated fusion. Comment Plasma Phys. Controlled Fusion 2, 51–61 (1975)

  16. 16

    Fill, E. et al. in X-ray Lasers 1998 (eds Kato, Y., Takuma, H. & Daido, H.) 301–308 (Inst. Phys. Conf. Ser. No. 159, IOP Publishing, Bristol, 1999)

  17. 17

    Tanaka, K. A. et al. Calibration of imaging plate for high energy electron spectrometer. Rev. Sci. Instrum. (in the press)

Download references

Acknowledgements

We thank the target fabrication, laser operation and acquisition groups at ILE Osaka University. G.R.K. thanks JSPS for support.

Author information

Correspondence to R. Kodama.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing financial interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.