Laser wakefield acceleration with active feedback at 5 Hz

S. J.D. Dann*, C. D. Baird, N. Bourgeois, O. Chekhlov, S. Eardley, C. D. Gregory, J. N. Gruse, J. Hah, D. Hazra, S. J. Hawkes, C. J. Hooker, K. Krushelnick, S. P.D. Mangles, V. A. Marshall, C. D. Murphy, Z. Najmudin, J. A. Nees, J. Osterhoff, B. Parry, P. PourmoussaviS. V. Rahul, P. P. Rajeev, S. Rozario, J. D.E. Scott, R. A. Smith, E. Springate, Y. Tang, S. Tata, A. G.R. Thomas, C. Thornton, D. R. Symes, M. J.V. Streeter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We describe the use of a genetic algorithm to apply active feedback to a laser wakefield accelerator at a higher power (10 TW) and a lower repetition rate (5 Hz) than previous work. The temporal shape of the drive laser pulse was adjusted automatically to optimize the properties of the electron beam. By changing the software configuration, different properties could be improved. This included the total accelerated charge per bunch, which was doubled, and the average electron energy, which was increased from 22 to 27 MeV. Using experimental measurements directly to provide feedback allows the system to work even when the underlying acceleration mechanisms are not fully understood, and, in fact, studying the optimized pulse shape might reveal new insights into the physical processes responsible. Our work suggests that this technique, which has already been applied with low-power lasers, can be extended to work with petawatt-class laser systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number041303
Number of pages12
JournalPhysical Review Accelerators and Beams
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2019

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© 2019 Published by the American Physical Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the published article’s title, journal citation, and DOI.

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