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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Density characterization of discharged gas-filled capillaries through common-path two-color spectral-domain interferometry

  • Author(s): Van Tilborg, J
  • Gonsalves, AJ
  • Esarey, EH
  • Schroeder, CB
  • Leemans, WP
  • et al.

© 2018 Optical Society of America. Electrically discharged plasma structures, typically several centimeters in length and sub-millimeter in diameter, have been applied to guide laser pulses in laser plasma accelerators and to focus ion and relativistic electron beams in compact, radially symmetric transport configurations. Knowledge of the on-axis plasma density is critical. Traditional density interferometry has been ineffective for these laser-machined structures, while group velocity delay (GVD) techniques involve combining two laser paths with corresponding alignment complexities and stability sensitivities. Here the GVD technique is advanced to a common-path two-color interferometer configuration performed in the spectral domain of a broad-bandwidth femtosecond laser. Multi-shot tracking of the phase is not required, and the common path assures improved stability. This in situ technique was validated on 15 mm long plasma structures, measuring electron densities of 1017-1018 cm-3 for various fill pressures.

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