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  1. Abstract The longitudinal coherence of X-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs) in the self-amplified spontaneous emission regime could be substantially improved if the high brightness electron beam could be pre-bunched on the radiated wavelength-scale. Here, we show that it is indeed possible to realize such current modulated electron beam at angstrom scale by exciting a nonlinear wake across a periodically modulated plasma-density downramp/plasma cathode. The density modulation turns on and off the injection of electrons in the wake while downramp provides a unique longitudinal mapping between the electrons’ initial injection positions and their final trapped positions inside the wake. The combined use of a downramp and periodic modulation of micrometers is shown to be able to produces a train of high peak current (17 kA) electron bunches with a modulation wavelength of 10’s of angstroms - orders of magnitude shorter than the plasma density modulation. The peak brightness of the nano-bunched beam can be O (10 21 A/m 2 /rad 2 ) orders of magnitude higher than current XFEL beams. Such prebunched, high brightness electron beams hold the promise for compact and lower cost XEFLs that can produce nanometer radiation with hundreds of GW power in a 10 s of centimeter longmore »undulator.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  2. Absolute density measurements of low-ionization-degree or low-density plasmas ionized by lasers are very important for understanding strong-field physics, atmospheric propagation of intense laser pulses, Lidar etc. A cross-polarized common-path temporal interferometer using balanced detection was developed for measuring plasma density with a sensitivity of ∼0.6 mrad, equivalent to a plasma density-length product of ∼2.6 × 1013cm−2if using an 800 nm probe laser. By using this interferometer, we have investigated strong-field ionization yield versus intensity for various noble gases (Ar, Kr, and Xe) using 800 nm, 55 fs laser pulses with both linear (LP) and circular (CP) polarization. The experimental results were compared to the theoretical models of Ammosov-Delone-Krainov (ADK) and Perelomov-Popov-Terent’ev (PPT). We find that the measured phase change induced by plasma formation can be explained by the ADK theory in the adiabatic tunneling ionization regime, while PPT model can be applied to all different regimes. We have also measured the photoionization and fractional photodissociation of molecular (MO) hydrogen. By comparing our experimental results with PPT and MO-PPT models, we have determined the likely ionization pathways when using three different pump laser wavelengths of 800 nm, 400 nm, and 267 nm.

  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  4. Abstract Due to the highly nonlinear nature of the beam-loading, it is currently not possible to analytically determine the beam parameters needed in a two-bunch plasma wakefield accelerator for maintaining a low energy spread. Therefore in this paper, by using the Broyden–Fletcher–Goldfarb–Shanno algorithm for the parameter scanning with the code QuickPIC and the polynomial regression together with k -fold cross-validation method, we obtain two fitting formulas for calculating the parameters of tri-Gaussian electron beams when minimizing the energy spread based on the beam-loading effect in a nonlinear plasma wakefield accelerator. One formula allows the optimization of the normalized charge per unit length of a trailing beam to achieve the minimal energy spread, i.e. the optimal beam-loading. The other one directly gives the transformer ratio when the trailing beam achieves the optimal beam-loading. A simple scaling law for charges of drive beams and trailing beams is obtained from the fitting formula, which indicates that the optimal beam-loading is always achieved for a given charge ratio of the two beams when the length and separation of two beams and the plasma density are fixed. The formulas can also help obtain the optimal plasma densities for the maximum accelerated charge and the maximummore »acceleration efficiency under the optimal beam-loading respectively. These two fitting formulas will significantly enhance the efficiency for designing and optimizing a two-bunch plasma wakefield acceleration stage.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 11, 2023
  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  6. Abstract

    Plasma-based accelerators use the strong electromagnetic fields that can be supported by plasmas to accelerate charged particles to high energies. Accelerating field structures in plasma can be generated by powerful laser pulses or charged particle beams. This research field has recently transitioned from involving a few small-scale efforts to the development of national and international networks of scientists supported by substantial investment in large-scale research infrastructure. In this New Journal of Physics 2020 Plasma Accelerator Roadmap, perspectives from experts in this field provide a summary overview of the field and insights into the research needs and developments for an international audience of scientists, including graduate students and researchers entering the field.