Research Papers in Physics and Astronomy


Date of this Version



Published in Nature Photonics, Advance Online Publication, doi: 10.1038/NPHOTON.2013.314


Copyright © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Used by permission.


The maximum achievable photon energy of compact, conventional, Compton-scattering X-ray sources is currently limited by the maximum permissible field gradient of conventional electron accelerators. An alternative compact Compton X-ray source architecture with no such limitation is based instead on a high-field-gradient laser–wakefield accelerator. In this case, a single high-power (100 TW) laser system generates intense laser pulses, which are used for both electron acceleration and scattering. Although such all-laser-based sources have been demonstrated to be bright and energetic in proof-of-principle experiments, to date they have lacked several important distinguishing characteristics of conventional Compton sources. We now report the experimental demonstration of all-laser-driven Compton X-rays that are both quasi-monoenergetic (~50% full-width at half-maximum) and tunable (~70 keV to >1 MeV). These performance improvements are highly beneficial for several important X-ray radiological applications.

Includes Supplementary Data.