Research Papers in Physics and Astronomy


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Published by American Physical Society. Physical Review Letters, 91, 225001-1 (2003). Copyright © 2003 American Physical Society. Permission to use.


The effects of interference due to crossed laser beams were studied experimentally in the high-intensity regime. Two ultrashort (400 fs), high-intensity (4×1017 and 1.6×1018 W/cm2) and1µm wavelength laser pulses were crossed in a plasma of density 4×1019 cm3. Energy was observed to be transferred from the higher-power to the lower-power pulse, increasing the amplitude of the plasma wave propagating in the direction of the latter. This results in increased electron self-trapping and plasma-wave acceleration gradient, which led to an increased number of hot electrons (by 300%) and hot-electron temperature (by 70%) and a decreased electron-beam divergence angle (by 45%), as compared with single-pulse illumination. Simulations reveal that increased stochastic heating of electrons may have also contributed to the electron-beam enhancement.

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