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Spin polarization of electrons by ultraintense lasers

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JournalPhysical Review A
DateAccepted/In press - 8 Sep 2017
DatePublished (current) - 11 Oct 2017
Issue number4
Number of pages6
Pages (from-to)1-5
Original languageEnglish


Electrons in plasmas produced by next-generation ultraintense lasers (I>5×1022W/cm2) can be spin polarized to a high degree (10%-70%) by the laser pulses on a femtosecond time scale. This is due to electrons undergoing spin-flip transitions as they radiate γ-ray photons, preferentially spin polarizing in one direction. Spin polarization can modify the radiation reaction force on the electrons, which differs by up to 30% for opposite spin polarizations. Consequently, the polarization of the radiated γ-ray photons is also modified: the relative power radiated in the σ and π components increases and decreases by up to 30%, respectively, potentially reducing the rate of pair production in the plasma by up to 30%.

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© 2017 Published by the American Physical Society.

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