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.
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We thank the target fabrication, laser operation and acquisition groups at ILE Osaka University. G.R.K. thanks JSPS for support.
The authors declare that they have no competing financial interests.
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