Indexed on: 02 Nov '15Published on: 02 Nov '15Published in: The Review of scientific instruments
An investigation of the electron beam yield (charge) form helium, nitrogen, and neon gas jet plasmas in a typical laser-plasma wakefield acceleration experiment is carried out. The charge measurement is made by imaging the electron beam intensity profile on a fluorescent screen into a charge coupled device which was cross-calibrated with an integrated current transformer. The dependence of electron beam charge on the laser and plasma conditions for the aforementioned gases are studied. We found that laser-driven wakefield acceleration in low Z-gas jet targets usually generates high-quality and well-collimated electron beams with modest yields at the level of 10-100 pC. On the other hand, filamentary electron beams which are observed from high-Z gases at higher densities reached much higher yields. Evidences for cluster formation were clearly observed in the nitrogen gas jet target, where we received the highest electron beam charge of ∼1.7 nC. Those intense electron beams will be beneficial for the applications on the generation of bright X-rays, gamma rays radiations, and energetic positrons via the bremsstrahlung or inverse-scattering processes.