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Coherently enhanced radiation reaction effects in laser-vacuum acceleration of electron bunches

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 October 2010

P.W. Smorenburg*
Eindhoven University of Technology, Department of Applied Physics, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
L.P.J. Kamp
Eindhoven University of Technology, Department of Applied Physics, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
G.A. Geloni
European XFEL GmbH, Hamburg, Germany
O.J. Luiten
Eindhoven University of Technology, Department of Applied Physics, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: P.W. Smorenburg, Eindhoven University of Technology, Department of Applied Physics, CQT Group P.O. Box 513, 5600 MB, Eindhoven, The Netherlands. E-mail:


The effects of coherently enhanced radiation reaction on the motion of subwavelength electron bunches in interaction with intense laser pulses are analyzed. The radiation reaction force behaves as a radiation pressure in the laser beam direction, combined with a viscous force in the perpendicular direction. Due to Coulomb expansion of the electron bunch, coherent radiation reaction takes effect only in the initial stage of the laser-bunch interaction while the bunch is still smaller than the wavelength. It is shown that this initial stage can have observable effects on the trajectory of the bunch. By scaling the system to larger bunch charges, the radiation reaction effects are strongly increased. On the basis of the usual equation of motion, this increase is shown to be such that radiation reaction may suppress the radial instability normally found in ponderomotive acceleration schemes, thereby enabling the full potential of laser-vacuum electron bunch acceleration to GeV energies. However, the applicability of the used equation of motion still needs to be validated experimentally, which becomes possible using the presented experimental scheme.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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