Low-density hydrodynamic optical-field-ionized plasma channels generated with an axicon lens

R. J. Shalloo, C. Arran, A. Picksley, A. Von Boetticher, L. Corner, J. Holloway, G. Hine, J. Jonnerby, H. M. Milchberg, C. Thornton, R. Walczak, S. M. Hooker

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We demonstrate optical guiding of high-intensity laser pulses in long, low-density hydrodynamic optical-field-ionized (HOFI) plasma channels. An axicon lens is used to generate HOFI plasma channels with on-axis electron densities as low as ne(0)=1.5×1017 cm-3 and matched spot sizes in the range 20 μ40 μm. Control of these channel parameters via adjustment of the initial cell pressure and the delay after the arrival of the channel-forming pulse is demonstrated. For laser pulses with a peak axial intensity of 4×1017 W cm-2, highly reproducible, high-quality guiding over more than 14 Rayleigh ranges is achieved at a pulse repetition rate of 5 Hz, limited by the available channel-forming laser and vacuum pumping system. Plasma channels of this type would seem to be well suited to multi-GeV laser wakefield accelerators operating in the quasilinear regime.

Original languageEnglish
Article number041302
JournalPhysical Review Accelerators and Beams
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2019

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