Acceleration by Coherent Thomson Scattering

Current accelerator technology employs radio-frequency electric fields to accelerate charged particles, and requires kilometer-long acceleration distances once particle energies in the GeV range are needed. Therefore alternative accelerator techniques are necessary. This project explores the possiblity to develop such a new acceleration technique based on an old fundamental concept in physics: radiation reaction.

When irradiated by a laser pulse, a charged particle scatters a fraction of the light due to its oscillatory quiver motion in the optical field of the pulse, which is known as Thomson scattering. The accompanying recoil from the scattered light is the classical radiation reaction, which usually affects the motion of the particle neglicably. However, when many particles form a bunch which is smaller than the laser wavelength, the particles scatter light coherently, yielding a strongly enhanced radiation reaction force. In this project, possibilities to use this force in acceleration techniques are investigated.

Keywords: Thomson scattering, radiation reaction, laser-vacuum acceleration, coherent radiation.

People involved: The following people are or have been involved in this project:

PhD studentPeter Smorenburg
Former PhD studentsGianluca Geloni
Undergraduate students
Former students
Staff membersLeon Kamp and Jom Luiten