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Staging of laser-plasma accelerators

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We present results of an experiment where two laser-plasma-accelerator stages are coupled at a short distance by a plasma mirror. Stable electron beams from the first stage were used to longitudinally probe the dark-current-free, quasi-linear wakefield excited by the laser of the second stage. Changing the arrival time of the electron beam with respect to the second stage laser pulse allowed reconstruction of the temporal wakefield structure, determination of the plasma density, and inference of the length of the electron beam. The first stage electron beam could be focused by an active plasma lens to a spot size smaller than the transverse wake size at the entrance of the second stage. This permitted electron beam trapping, verified by a 100 MeV energy gain.

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