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Hydrodynamic optical-field-ionized plasma channels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • R J Shalloo
  • C Arran
  • L Corner
  • J Holloway
  • J Jonnerby
  • R Walczak
  • H M Milchberg
  • S M Hooker


Publication details

JournalPhysical Review E
DateAccepted/In press - 20 Apr 2018
DatePublished (current) - 7 May 2018
Issue number5-1
Number of pages8
Original languageEnglish


We present experiments and numerical simulations which demonstrate that fully ionized, low-density plasma channels could be formed by hydrodynamic expansion of plasma columns produced by optical field ionization. Simulations of the hydrodynamic expansion of plasma columns formed in hydrogen by an axicon lens show the generation of 200 mm long plasma channels with axial densities of order n_{e}(0)=1×10^{17}cm^{-3} and lowest-order modes of spot size W_{M}≈40μm. These simulations show that the laser energy required to generate the channels is modest: of order 1 mJ per centimeter of channel. The simulations are confirmed by experiments with a spherical lens which show the formation of short plasma channels with 1.5×10^{17}cm^{-3}≲n_{e}(0)≲1×10^{18}cm^{-3} and 61μm≳W_{M}≳33μm. Low-density plasma channels of this type would appear to be well suited as multi-GeV laser-plasma accelerator stages capable of long-term operation at high pulse repetition rates.

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