Laser Guiding for GeV Laser-Plasma Accelerators
Guiding of relativistically intense laser beams in preformed plasma channels is discussed for development of GeV-class laser accelerators. Experiments using a channel guided laser wakefield accelerator (LWFA) at LBNL have demonstrated that near mono-energetic 100 MeV-class electron beams can be produced with a 10 TW laser system. Analysis, aided by particle-in-cell simulations, as well as experimentswith various plasma lengths and densities, indicate that tailoring the length of the accelerator, together with loading of the accelerating structure with beam, is the key to production of mono-energetic electron beams. Increasing the energy towards a GeV and beyond will require reducing the plasma density and design criteria are discussed for an optimized accelerator module. The current progress and future directions are summarized through comparison with conventional accelerators, highlighting the unique short term prospects for intense radiation sources based on laser-driven plasma accelerators.