skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Li, Fei"

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. The survival of an organism is dependent on its ability to respond to cues in the environment. Such cues can attain control over behavior as a function of the value ascribed to them. Some individuals have an inherent tendency to attribute reward-paired cues with incentive motivational value, or incentive salience. For these individuals, termed sign-trackers, a discrete cue that precedes reward delivery becomes attractive and desirable in its own right. Prior work suggests that the behavior of sign-trackers is dopamine-dependent, and cue-elicited dopamine in the NAc is believed to encode the incentive value of reward cues. Here we exploited the temporal resolution of optogenetics to determine whether selective inhibition of ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine neurons during cue presentation attenuates the propensity to sign-track. Using male tyrosine hydroxylase(TH)-CreLong Evans rats, it was found that, under baseline conditions, ∼84% ofTH-Crerats tend to sign-track. Laser-induced inhibition of VTA dopamine neurons during cue presentation prevented the development of sign-tracking behavior, without affecting goal-tracking behavior. When laser inhibition was terminated, these same rats developed a sign-tracking response. Video analysis using DeepLabCutTMrevealed that, relative to rats that received laser inhibition, rats in the control group spent more time near the location of the reward cue even when it was not present and were more likely to orient toward and approach the cue during its presentation. These findings demonstrate that cue-elicited dopamine release is critical for the attribution of incentive salience to reward cues.

    SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENTActivity of dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) during cue presentation is necessary for the development of a sign-tracking, but not a goal-tracking, conditioned response in a Pavlovian task. We capitalized on the temporal precision of optogenetics to pair cue presentation with inhibition of VTA dopamine neurons. A detailed behavioral analysis with DeepLabCutTMrevealed that cue-directed behaviors do not emerge without dopamine neuron activity in the VTA. Importantly, however, when optogenetic inhibition is lifted, cue-directed behaviors increase, and a sign-tracking response develops. These findings confirm the necessity of dopamine neuron activity in the VTA during cue presentation to encode the incentive value of reward cues.

    more » « less
  2. In a laser wakefield accelerator (LWFA), an intense laser pulse excites a plasma wave that traps and accelerates electrons to relativistic energies. When the pulse overlaps the accelerated electrons, it can enhance the energy gain through direct laser acceleration (DLA) by resonantly driving the betatron oscillations of the electrons in the plasma wave. The traditional particle-in-cell (PIC) algorithm, although often the tool of choice to study DLA, contains inherent errors due to numerical dispersion and the time staggering of the electric and magnetic fields. Furthermore, conventional PIC implementations cannot reliably disentangle the fields of the plasma wave and laser pulse, which obscures interpretation of the dominant acceleration mechanism. Here, a customized field solver that reduces errors from both numerical dispersion and time staggering is used in conjunction with a field decomposition into azimuthal modes to perform PIC simulations of DLA in an LWFA. Comparisons with traditional PIC methods, model equations, and experimental data show improved accuracy with the customized solver and convergence with an order-of-magnitude fewer cells. The azimuthal-mode decomposition reveals that the most energetic electrons receive comparable energy from DLA and LWFA. 
    more » « less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  3. 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 long undulator. 
    more » « less