Bright betatron radiation from direct-laser-accelerated electrons at moderate relativistic laser intensity

Olga Rosmej, Luca Antonelli

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Direct laser acceleration (DLA) of electrons in a plasma of near-critical electron density (NCD) and the associated synchrotron-like radiation are discussed for moderate relativistic laser intensity (normalized laser amplitude a0 ≤ 4.3) and ps length pulse. This regime is typical of kJ PW-class laser facilities designed for high-energy-density (HED) research. In experiments at the PHELIX facility, it has been demonstrated that interaction of a 1019 W/cm2 sub-ps laser pulse with a sub-mm length NCD plasma results in the generation of high-current well-directed super-ponderomotive electrons with an effective temperature ten times higher than the ponderomotive potential [Rosmej et al., Plasma Phys. Controlled Fusion 62, 115024 (2020)]. Three-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations provide good agreement with the measured electron energy distribution and are used in the current work to study synchrotron radiation from the DLA-accelerated electrons. The resulting x-ray spectrum with a critical energy of 5 keV reveals an ultrahigh photon number of 7 × 1011 in the 1–30 keV photon energy range at the focused laser energy of 20 J. Numerical simulations of betatron x-ray phase contrast imaging based on the DLA process for the parameters of a PHELIX laser are presented. The results are of interest for applications in HED experiments, which require a ps x-ray pulse and a high photon flux.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMatter and Radiation at Extremes
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2021

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