Accélération d'électrons à l'aide d'impulsions laser ultrabrèves et fortement focalisées

Authors: Marceau, Vincent
Advisor: Piché, Michel
Abstract: When focused on a tiny spot, high-power laser pulses generate gigantic electromagnetic fields. Under these strong field conditions, charged particles can be accelerated up to high energies over short distances. Recent advances in high-power laser technology hint at exciting new possibilities in the development of a new generation of laser-driven electron accelerators that are expected to offer a robust, compact, and low-cost alternative to conventional linear accelerators. Among the many proposed laser-driven acceleration schemes, the use of radially polarized laser pulses is very promising. In this method, the electrons are accelerated along the optical axis by the strong longitudinal electric field component at the center of a TM01 beam. The main objective of this thesis is to investigate electron acceleration driven by TM01 pulses under ultrashort pulse and strong focusing conditions. In this nonparaxial and ultrashort pulse regime, the laser pulses must be rigorously modeled as exact solutions to Maxwell’s equations. We first present the tools that are used to obtain an exact closed-form solution to Maxwell’s equations for a TM01 pulse. This exact solution allows us to accurately model the acceleration process and to highlight several interesting properties of the dynamics in the nonparaxial and ultrashort pulse regime. It is also shown that an exact solution is not only useful to investigate electron acceleration under nonparaxial conditions, but also necessary to correctly describe the dynamics in the weak focusing limit. A part of this thesis is also concerned with an interesting property of the acceleration driven by ultrashort and tightly focused TM01 pulses, namely the generation of ultrashort bunches of subrelativistic electrons. Using particle-in-cell simulations, we demonstrate the possibility of generating one-femtosecond electron pulses at few-hundred-keV energies when a few-hundred-GW TM01 pulse is tightly focused in a low-density gas. Since they are located in the appropriate energy window, these electron pulses could potentially lead to a significant improvement in the time resolution of atomic and molecular imaging experiments based on ultrafast electron diffraction.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2015
Open Access Date: 23 April 2018
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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