We demonstrate by computer simulations the generation of high-energy electrons by using a femtosecond terawatt laser pulse propagating in a plasma with a sharp downward density transition. In the two-dimensional simulation, a 20-TW laser pulse with a pulse duration of 60 fs and a wavelength of 800 nm propagates through a plasma with a sharp density transition consisting of n<sub>0</sub><sup>I</sup>=5×10<sup>18</sup> cm<sup>−3</sup> and n<sub>0</sub><sup>II</sup>=0.75n<sub>0</sub><sup>I</sup>. The simulation result demonstrates that a significant amount of electrons can be self-trapped and accelerated to an energy of 117 MeV over a distance of 0.62 mm by the ultrastrong nonlinear laser wake field. In addition, it has been found that the trapping dynamics is much different from the electron-beam-driven dynamics and that the energy spread of the trapped electrons can be reduced significantly by use of the density tapering method.
© 2004 Optical Society of America
Hyyong Suk, Hae June Lee, and In Soo Ko, "Generation of high-energy electrons by a femtosecond terawatt laser propagating through a sharp downward density transition," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 21, 1391-1396 (2004)