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Multi-stage scheme for nonlinear Breit-Wheeler pair-production utilising ultra-intense laser-solid interactions

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Publication details

JournalPlasma Physics and Controlled Fusion
DateAccepted/In press - 2 Jul 2019
DatePublished (current) - 23 Jul 2019
Issue number9
Number of pages14
Original languageEnglish


Multi-petawatt (PW) lasers enable intensities exceeding 1023 W cm-2, at which point quantum electrodynamics (QED) processes, such as electron-positron pair-production via the nonlinear Breit-Wheeler process, will play a significant role in laser-plasma interactions. Using 2D QED-particle-in-cell simulations, we present a two-stage scheme in which nonlinear pair-production is induced via an ultra-intense laser-solid interaction. The first stage is the generation of a γ-ray beam, through the interaction of an ultra-intense laser pulse with a thick target, whose features are found to be strongly dependent on collective plasma effects. This compact, high energy γ-ray beam (characterised by a divergence half-angle ∼10° and average photon energy ∼10 MeV) then interacts with two counter-propagating laser pulses. By varying the laser polarisation and angle of incidence, we show that in the case of two circularly polarised laser pulses propagating at an angle equal to the divergence half-angle of the γ-ray beam, the produced positron distribution is highly anisotropic compared to the case of a standard head-on collision.

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© 2019, IOP Publishing Ltd. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy.

    Research areas

  • nonlinear Breit-Wheeler process, Pair-production, ultra-intense laser-plasma interaction

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