Research Papers in Physics and Astronomy


Date of this Version



Physical Review Letters. Physics News Graphics, American Institute of Physics, December 22, 2003. Copyright 2003. Permission to use.


Crossing two high-intensity laser beams in a plasma (a collection of charged particles) can have some interesting effects. In a recent experiment performed by researchers at the University of Michigan and the Institute of Physics in China, energy from a higher-power laser pulse was transferred to a lower-power laser pulse. The lower-power pulse had been accelerating electrons with its "wakefield" (like a wave accelerating a surfer). The extra energy to this lower-power pulse enhanced the electron acceleration and decreased the divergence of the electron beam. These features are desirable for proposed "laser particle accelerators" that would be powered by relatively inexpensive and convenient laser light, which is much more powerful than conventional radio-frequency waves.

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