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  1. Abstract

    Laser wakefield accelerators (LWFAs) have electric fields that are orders of magnitude larger than those of conventional accelerators, promising an attractive, small-scale alternative for next-generation light sources and lepton colliders. The maximum energy gain in a single-stage LWFA is limited by dephasing, which occurs when the trapped particles outrun the accelerating phase of the wakefield. Here, we demonstrate that a single space–time structured laser pulse can be used for ionization injection and electron acceleration over many dephasing lengths in the bubble regime. Simulations of a dephasingless laser wakefield accelerator driven by a 6.2-J laser pulse show 25 pC of injected charge accelerated over 20 dephasing lengths (1.3 cm) to a maximum energy of 2.1 GeV. The space–time structured laser pulse features an ultrashort, programmable-trajectory focus. Accelerating the focus, reducing the focused spot-size variation, and mitigating unwanted self-focusing stabilize the electron acceleration, which improves beam quality and leads to projected energy gains of 125 GeV in a single, sub-meter stage driven by a 500-J pulse.

     
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  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024
  3. Heat conduction is strongly suppressed in turbulent, weakly collisional, and magnetized plasmas. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    Understanding magnetic-field generation and amplification in turbulent plasma is essential to account for observations of magnetic fields in the universe. A theoretical framework attributing the origin and sustainment of these fields to the so-called fluctuation dynamo was recently validated by experiments on laser facilities in low-magnetic-Prandtl-number plasmas ( P m < 1 ). However, the same framework proposes that the fluctuation dynamo should operate differently when P m ≳ 1 , the regime relevant to many astrophysical environments such as the intracluster medium of galaxy clusters. This paper reports an experiment that creates a laboratory P m ≳ 1 plasma dynamo. We provide a time-resolved characterization of the plasma’s evolution, measuring temperatures, densities, flow velocities, and magnetic fields, which allows us to explore various stages of the fluctuation dynamo’s operation on seed magnetic fields generated by the action of the Biermann-battery mechanism during the initial drive-laser target interaction. The magnetic energy in structures with characteristic scales close to the driving scale of the stochastic motions is found to increase by almost three orders of magnitude and saturate dynamically. It is shown that the initial growth of these fields occurs at a much greater rate than the turnover rate of the driving-scale stochastic motions. Our results point to the possibility that plasma turbulence produced by strong shear can generate fields more efficiently at the driving scale than anticipated by idealized magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) simulations of the nonhelical fluctuation dynamo; this finding could help explain the large-scale fields inferred from observations of astrophysical systems. 
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