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Open Access Publications from the University of California

High-Quality Electron Beams from Beam-Driven Plasma Accelerators by Wakefield-Induced Ionization Injection


We propose a new and simple strategy for controlled ionization-induced trapping of electrons in a beam-driven plasma accelerator. The presented method directly exploits electric wakefields to ionize electrons from a dopant gas and capture them into a well-defined volume of the accelerating and focusing wake phase, leading to high-quality witness bunches. This injection principle is explained by example of three-dimensional particle-in-cell calculations using the code OSIRIS. In these simulations a high-current-density electron-beam driver excites plasma waves in the blowout regime inside a fully ionized hydrogen plasma of density 5×10(17)cm-3. Within an embedded 100  μm long plasma column contaminated with neutral helium gas, the wakefields trigger ionization, trapping of a defined fraction of the released electrons, and subsequent acceleration. The hereby generated electron beam features a 1.5 kA peak current, 1.5  μm transverse normalized emittance, an uncorrelated energy spread of 0.3% on a GeV-energy scale, and few femtosecond bunch length.

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