École Polytechnique: Laser-plasma acceleration awarded by the French Physical Society

The experiments conducted by Cédric Thaury consist in focusing an energetic light beam on a target material in order to create a plasma, ie a gas of negatively charged electrons and positively charged ions. These charges are then separated at most, creating a strong electric field capable of propelling electrons. This is laser-plasma acceleration. Over a few millimeters, the accelerated electrons reach energies equivalent to those obtained over several tens of meters with standard particle accelerators, which opens up prospects for miniaturization. The work of the Applied Optics Laboratory LOA *, which won the Jean-Louis Laclare prize from the Accelerator Division of the French Physical Society, is a pioneering example of the use of plasma waveguides to increase the energy acquired by electrons.

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