One of the major goals of research for laser-plasma accelerators1 is the realization of compact sources of femtosecond X-rays2,3,4. In particular, using the modest electron energies obtained with existing laser systems, Compton scattering a photon beam off a relativistic electron bunch has been proposed as a source of high-energy and high-brightness photons. However, laser-plasma based approaches to Compton scattering have not, to date, produced X-rays above 1 keV. Here, we present a simple and compact scheme for a Compton source based on the combination of a laser-plasma accelerator and a plasma mirror. This approach is used to produce a broadband spectrum of X-rays extending up to hundreds of keV and with a 10,000-fold increase in brightness over Compton X-ray sources based on conventional accelerators5,6. We anticipate that this technique will lead to compact, high-repetition-rate sources of ultrafast (femtosecond), tunable (X- through gamma-ray) and low-divergence (∼1°) photons from source sizes on the order of a micrometre.
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The authors acknowledge the European Research Council for support through the PARIS ERC project (contract no. 226424). The authors acknowledge LOA technical staff for experimental assistance.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Ta Phuoc, K., Corde, S., Thaury, C. et al. All-optical Compton gamma-ray source. Nature Photon 6, 308–311 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2012.82
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