Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Cascaded high-gradient terahertz-driven acceleration of relativistic electron beams

Abstract

Terahertz-driven acceleration has recently emerged as a route for delivering ultrashort bright electron beams efficiently, reliably and in a compact set-up. Many working schemes and key technologies related to terahertz-driven acceleration have been successfully demonstrated and are being developeds1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10. However, the achieved acceleration gradient and energy gain remain low, and the potential physics and technical challenges in the high-energy regime are still underexplored. Here we report whole-bunch acceleration of relativistic beams with an effective acceleration gradient of up to 85 MV m–1 in a single-stage configuration and demonstrate a cascaded terahertz-driven acceleration scheme of relativistic beams with an energy gain of 204 keV. These proof-of-principle results represent a critical advance towards high-energy terahertz-driven acceleration of relativistic beams, are scalable and have great potential to provide high-quality beams, with implications for future terahertz-driven electron sources and related scientific discoveries.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: Single-stage terahertz-driven linac.
Fig. 2: Single-stage terahertz-driven acceleration and energy modulation.
Fig. 3: Cascaded terahertz-driven linacs.
Fig. 4: Observation of cascaded terahertz-driven acceleration.

Data availability

The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

References

  1. 1.

    Huang, W. R. et al. Toward a terahertz-driven electron gun. Sci. Rep. 5, 14899 (2015).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Huang, W. R. et al. Terahertz-driven, all-optical electron gun. Optica 3, 1209–1212 (2016).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Zhang, D. et al. Segmented terahertz electron accelerator and manipulator (STEAM). Nat. Photon. 12, 336–342 (2018).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Zhang, D. et al. Femtosecond phase control in high-field terahertz-driven ultrafast electron sources. Optica 6, 872–877 (2019).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Nanni, E. A. et al. Terahertz-driven linear electron acceleration. Nat. Commun. 6, 8486 (2015).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Zhang, D. et al. Cascaded multicycle terahertz-driven ultrafast electron acceleration and manipulation. Phys. Rev. X 10, 011067 (2020).

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Hibberd, M. T. et al. Acceleration of relativistic beams using laser-generated terahertz pulses. Nat. Photon. 14, 755–759 (2020).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Curry, E., Fabbri, S., Maxson, J., Musumeci, P. & Gover, A. Meter-scale terahertz-driven acceleration of a relativistic beam. Phys. Rev. Lett. 120, 094801 (2018).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Zhao, L. et al. Femtosecond relativistic electron beam with reduced timing jitter from THz driven beam compression. Phys. Rev. Lett. 124, 054802 (2020).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Snively, E. C. et al. Femtosecond compression dynamics and timing jitter suppression in a THz-driven electron bunch compressor. Phys. Rev. Lett. 124, 054801 (2020).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Faure, J. et al. A laser–plasma accelerator producing monoenergetic electron beams. Nature 431, 541–544 (2004).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Geddes, C. G. R. et al. High-quality electron beams from a laser wakefield accelerator using plasma-channel guiding. Nature 431, 538–541 (2004).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Hafz, N. A. M. et al. Stable generation of GeV-class electron beams from self-guided laser–plasma channels. Nat. Photon. 2, 571–577 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Litos, M. et al. High-efficiency acceleration of an electron beam in a plasma wakefield accelerator. Nature 515, 92–95 (2005).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Litos, M. et al. 9 GeV Energy gain in a beam-driven plasma wakefield accelerator. Plasma Phys. Control. Fusion 58, 034017 (2016).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Adli, E. et al. Acceleration of electrons in the plasma wakefield of a proton bunch. Nature 561, 363–367 (2018).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Peralta, E. A. et al. Demonstration of electron acceleration in a laser-driven dielectric microstructure. Nature 503, 91–94 (2013).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Breuer, J. & Hommelhoff, P. Laser-based acceleration of nonrelativistic electrons at a dielectric structure. Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 134803 (2013).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Niedermayer, U., Egenolf, T., Boine-Frankenheim, O. & Hommelhoff, P. Alternating-phase focusing for dielectric-laser acceleration. Phys. Rev. Lett. 121, 214801 (2018).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Wang, J. & Loew, G. RF breakdown studies in copper electron linac structures. In Proc. 1989 IEEE Particle Accelerator Conf. on Accelerator Science and Technology 1137–1139 (IEEE, 1989).

  21. 21.

    S. Doebert et al. High gradient performance of NLC/GLC X-band accelerating structures. In Proc. 21st Particle Accelerator Conf. 372–374 (IEEE, 2005).

  22. 22.

    Thompson, M. C. et al. Breakdown limits on gigavolt-per-meter electron-beam-driven wakefields in dielectric structures. Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 214801 (2018).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Du, Y. et al. Generation of first hard X-ray pulse at Tsinghua Thomson scattering X-ray source. Rev. Sci. Instrum. 84, 053301 (2013).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Jolly, S. W. et al. Spectral phase control of interfering chirped pulses for high-energy narrowband terahertz generation. Nat. Commun. 10, 2591 (2019).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Lemery, F. Highly scalable multicycle THz production with a homemade periodically poled macrocrystal. Commun. Phys. 3, 150 (2020).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Fülöp, J. et al. Efficient generation of THz pulses with 0.4 mJ energy. Opt. Express 22, 20155–20163 (2014).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Zhang, B. et al. 1.4-mJ high energy terahertz radiation from lithium niobates. Laser Photon. Rev. https://doi.org/10.1002/lpor.202000295 (2020).

  28. 28.

    Flöttmann, K. Astra Manual (DESY, 2017).

  29. 29.

    Woldegeorgis, A. et al. Multi-MV/cm longitudinally polarized terahertz pulses from laser–thin foil interaction. Optica 5, 1474–1477 (2018).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

We acknowledge W. Jiang and S. Ji, at the State Key Laboratory of Low Dimensional Quantum Physics and Department of Physics, Tsinghua University, for their help with the tantalum target coating. This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC grant no. 11835004) and Science Challenge Project (no. TZ2018005).

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

H.X., W.H., L.Y. and Y.D. conceived and designed the experiment. H.X. built and conducted the experiment with the help from Q.T., L.Y., Y.D., S.G., Y.L., W.H. and C.T. H.X. designed the DLW and the tapered horn coupler with the help of J.S. H.X. developed and performed the simulations for data evaluation and interpretation of results. H.X. wrote the manuscript with contributions from W.H., L.Y., R.L., Y.D. and C.T. W.H. provided management and oversight to the project.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Wenhui Huang.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Additional information

Peer review information Nature Photonics thanks Rasmus Ischebeck, Stefan Karsch and Emilio Nanni for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Extended data

Extended Data Fig. 1 TTX beamline and the laser splitting setup.

The TTX beamline (a) and the laser splitting setup (b).

Extended Data Fig. 2 THz linac.

a, Frequency map for different DLW dimensions when vp = 0.9999c. b, Calculated normalized energy gain for different DLW dimensions when vp = 0.9999c and f0 = 0.6 THz. c, Dispersion curve of the designed DLW. d, Normalized magnitude of the longitudinal electric field along the radial axis. e, Calculated coupling of the horn coupler. f, Simulation results of megaelectronvolt-level THz-driven acceleration using the designed DLW for single-stage and cascaded configurations.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Contents: (1) TTX beamline; (2) shot-to-shot energy jitter; (3) dispersion; (4) effective frequency bandwidth; (5) transverse force; (6) beam matching; (7) acceleration efficiency. Supplementary Figs. 1–4 and refs. 1–6.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Xu, H., Yan, L., Du, Y. et al. Cascaded high-gradient terahertz-driven acceleration of relativistic electron beams. Nat. Photonics 15, 426–430 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-021-00779-x

Download citation

Further reading

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing