Diagnostics for advanced laser acceleration experiments
The first proposal for plasma based accelerators was suggested by 1979 by Tajima and Dawson. Since then there has been a tremendous progress both theoretically and experimentally. The theoretical progress is particularly due to the growing interest in the subject and to the development of more accurate numerical codes for the plasma simulations (especially particle-in-cell codes). The experimental progress follows from the development of multi-terawatt laser systems based on the chirped-pulse amplification technique. These efforts have produced results in several experiments world-wide, with the detection of accelerated electrons of tens of MeV. The peculiarity of these advanced accelerators is their ability to sustain extremely large acceleration gradients. In the conventional radio frequency linear accelerators (RF linacs) the acceleration gradients are limited roughly to 100 MV/m; this is partially due to breakdown which occurs on the walls of the structure. The electrical breakdown is originated by the emission of the electrons from the walls of the cavity. The electrons cause an avalanche breakdown when they reach other metal parts of the RF linacs structure.