Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
An accurate and efficient laser-envelope solver for the modeling of laser-plasma accelerators
- Author(s): Benedetti, C
- Schroeder, CB
- Geddes, CGR
- Esarey, E
- Leemans, WP
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1088/1361-6587/aa8977
© 2017 IOP Publishing Ltd. Detailed and reliable numerical modeling of laser-plasma accelerators (LPAs), where a short and intense laser pulse interacts with an underdense plasma over distances of up to a meter, is a formidably challenging task. This is due to the great disparity among the length scales involved in the modeling, ranging from the micron scale of the laser wavelength to the meter scale of the total laser-plasma interaction length. The use of the time-averaged ponderomotive force approximation, where the laser pulse is described by means of its envelope, enables efficient modeling of LPAs by removing the need to model the details of electron motion at the laser wavelength scale. Furthermore, it allows simulations in cylindrical geometry which captures relevant 3D physics at 2D computational cost. A key element of any code based on the time-averaged ponderomotive force approximation is the laser envelope solver. In this paper we present the accurate and efficient envelope solver used in the code INF&RNO (INtegrated Fluid & paRticle simulatioN cOde). The features of the INF&RNO laser solver enable an accurate description of the laser pulse evolution deep into depletion even at a reasonably low resolution, resulting in significant computational speed-ups.