Holographic visualization of laser wakefields

Dong, Peng and Reed, S. A. and Kalmykov, S. Y. and Li, Z.-Y. and Shvets, G. and Matlis, N. H. and McGuffey, Christopher and Bulanov, Stepan S. and Chyvkov, V. and Kalintchenko, Galina and Krushelnick, Karl and Maksimchuk, Anatoly and Matsuoka, Takeshi and Thomas, Alexander George Roy and Yanovsky, Victor and Downer, M. C. (2010) Holographic visualization of laser wakefields. New Journal of Physics, 12. ISSN 1367-2630

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We report 'snapshots' of laser-generated plasma accelerator structures acquired by frequency domain holography (FDH) and frequency domain shadowgraphy (FDS), techniques for visualizing quasi-static objects propagating near the speed of light. FDH captures images of sinusoidal wakes in mm-length plasmas of density 1<ne <5×1018 cm−3 from phase modulations they imprint on co-propagating probe pulses. Changes in the wake structure (such as the curvature of the wavefront), caused by the laser and plasma parameter variations from shot to shot, were observed. FDS visualizes laser-generated electron density bubbles in mm-length plasmas of density ne≥1019 cm−3 using amplitude modulations they imprint on co-propagating probe pulses. Variations in the spatio-temporal structure of bubbles are inferred from corresponding variations in the shape of 'bullets' of probe light trapped inside them and correlated with mono-energetic electron generation. Both FDH and FDS average over structural variations that occur during propagation through the plasma medium. We explore via simulations a generalization of FDH/FDS (termed frequency domain tomography (FDT)) that can potentially record a time sequence of quasi-static snapshots, like the frames of a movie, of the wake structure as it propagates through the plasma. FDT utilizes several probe–reference pulse pairs that propagate obliquely to the wake, along with tomographic reconstruction algorithms similar to those used in medical CAT scans.

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Journal Article
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New Journal of Physics
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04 Apr 2017 12:14
Last Modified:
17 Sep 2023 02:04