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Experimental Evidence of Radiation Reaction in the Collision of a High-Intensity Laser Pulse with a Laser-Wakefield Accelerated Electron Beam

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  • J. M. Cole
  • K. T. Behm
  • E. Gerstmayr
  • T. G. Blackburn
  • J. C. Wood
  • C. D. Baird
  • Matthew J. Duff
  • C. Harvey
  • A. Ilderton
  • A. S. Joglekar
  • K Krushelnick
  • S. Kuschel
  • M. Marklund
  • P. McKenna
  • K. Poder
  • G. M. Samarin
  • G. Sarri
  • D. R. Symes
  • A. G.R. Thomas
  • J. Warwick
  • M Zepf
  • Z. Najmudin
  • Stuart P. D. Mangles


Publication details

JournalPhysical Review X
DateAccepted/In press - 9 Dec 2017
DatePublished (current) - 7 Feb 2018
Issue number1
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)1-11
Original languageEnglish


The dynamics of energetic particles in strong electromagnetic fields can be heavily influenced by the energy loss arising from the emission of radiation during acceleration, known as radiation reaction. When interacting with a high-energy electron beam, today's lasers are sufficiently intense to explore the transition between the classical and quantum radiation reaction regimes. We present evidence of radiation reaction in the collision of an ultrarelativistic electron beam generated by laser-wakefield acceleration (μ 500 MeV) with an intense laser pulse (a0>10). We measure an energy loss in the postcollision electron spectrum that is correlated with the detected signal of hard photons (γ rays), consistent with a quantum description of radiation reaction. The generated γ rays have the highest energies yet reported from an all-optical inverse Compton scattering scheme, with critical energy >30 MeV.

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© 2018 The Author(s).

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