Increasing energy coupling into plasma waves by tailoring the laser radial focal spot distribution in a laser wakefield accelerator

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


By controlling the focal spot quality with a deformable mirror, we are able to show that increasing the fraction of pulse energy contained within the central part of the focal spot, while keeping the total energy and central spot size constant, significantly increases the amount of energy transferred to the wakefield: Our measurements show that the laser loses significantly more laser energy and undergoes greater redshifting and that more charge is produced in the accelerated beam. Three dimensional particle in cell simulations performed with accurate representations of the measured focal spot intensity distribution confirm that energy in the wings of the focal spot is effectively wasted. Even though self-focusing occurs, energy in the wings of the focal spot distribution is not coupled into the wakefield, emphasising the vital importance of high quality focal spot profiles in experiments. (C) 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.


  • Guillaume Genoud
  • M. S. Bloom
  • J. Vieira
  • Matthias Burza
  • Z. Najmudin
  • Anders Persson
  • L. O. Silva
  • Kristoffer Svensson
  • Claes-Göran Wahlström
  • S. P. D. Mangles
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Atom and Molecular Physics and Optics
Original languageEnglish
Article number064501
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch