Recent advances in laser-plasma accelerators, including the generation of GeV-scale electron bunches, enable applications such as driving a compact free-electron laser (FEL). Significant reduction in size of the FEL is facilitated by the expected ultrahigh peak beam currents (10-100 kA) generated in laser-plasma accelerators. At low electron energies such peak currents are expected to cause space-charge effects such as bunch expansion and induced energy variations along the bunch, potentially hindering the FEL process. In this paper we discuss a self-consistent approach to modeling space-charge effects for the regime of laser-plasma-accelerated ultracompact electron bunches at low or moderate energies. Analytical treatments are considered as well as point-to-point particle simulations, including the beam transport from the laser-plasma accelerator through focusing devices and the undulator. In contradiction to non-self-consistent analyses (i.e., neglecting bunch evolution), which predict a linearly growing energy chirp, we have found the energy chirp reaches a maximum and decreases thereafter. The impact of the space-charge induced chirp on FEL performance is discussed and possible solutions are presented.
|Physical Review Special Topics - Accelerators and Beams
|Published - Feb 17 2009
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
- Surfaces and Interfaces