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Phys Rev Lett. 2007 May 11;98(19):194801. Epub 2007 May 9.

Observation of fine structures in laser-driven electron beams using coherent transition radiation.

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  • 1Laboratoire d'Optique Appliquée - ENSTA, UMR 7639, CNRS, Ecole Polytechnique, 91761 Palaiseau, France.


We have measured the coherent optical transition radiation emitted by an electron beam from laser-plasma interaction. The measurement of the spectrum of the radiation reveals fine structures of the electron beam in the range 400-1000 nm. These structures are reproduced using an electron distribution from a 3D particle-in-cell simulation and are attributed to microbunching of the electron bunch due to its interaction with the laser field. When the radiator is placed closer to the interaction point, spectral oscillations have also been recorded, signature of the interference of the radiation produced by two electron bunches delayed by 74 fs. The second electron bunch duration is shown to be ultrashort to match the intensity level of the radiation. Whereas transition radiation was used at longer wavelengths in order to estimate the electron bunch length, this study focuses on the ultrashort structures of the electron beam.

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