Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Properties of trapped electron bunches in a plasma wakefield accelerator
by Kirby, Neil Allen, Ph.D., Stanford University, 2009, 164; 3382942
Abstract (Summary)

Plasma-based accelerators use the propagation of a drive bunch through plasma to create large electric fields. Recent plasma wakefield accelerator (PWFA) experiments, carried out at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), successfully doubled the energy for some of the 42 GeV drive bunch electrons in less than a meter; this feat would have required 3 km in the SLAC linac. This dissertation covers one phenomenon associated with the PWFA, electron trapping. Recently it was shown that PWFAs, operated in the nonlinear bubble regime, can trap electrons that are released by ionization inside the plasma wake and accelerate them to high energies. These trapped electrons occupy and can degrade the accelerating portion of the plasma wake, so it is important to understand their origins and how to remove them. Here, the onset of electron trapping is connected to the drive bunch properties.

Additionally, the trapped electron bunches are observed with normalized transverse emittance divided by peak current, εN,x/I t, below the level of 0.2 µm/kA. A theoretical model of the trapped electron emittance, developed here, indicates that the emittance scales inversely with the square root of the plasma density in the nonlinear "bubble" regime of the PWFA. This model and simulations indicate that the observed values of εN,x/It result from multi-GeV trapped electron bunches with emittances of a few μm and multi-kA peak currents. These properties make the trapped electrons a possible particle source for next generation light sources.

This dissertation is organized as follows. The first chapter is an overview of the PWFA, which includes a review of the accelerating and focusing fields and a survey of the remaining issues for a plasma-based particle collider. Then, the second chapter examines the physics of electron trapping in the PWFA. The third chapter uses theory and simulations to analyze the properties of the trapped electron bunches. Chapters four and five present the experimental diagnostics and measurements for the trapped electrons. Next, the sixth chapter introduces suggestions for future trapped electron experiments. Then, Chapter seven contains the conclusions. In addition, there is an appendix chapter that covers a topic which is extraneous to electron trapping, but relevant to the PWFA. This chapter explores the feasibility of one idea for the production of a hollow channel plasma, which if produced could solve some of the remaining issues for a plasma-based collider.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Chao, Alexander
School: Stanford University
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 70/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Plasma physics, Particle physics
Keywords: Electron bunches, Plasma wakefield accelerator, Trapped electrons
Publication Number: 3382942
ISBN: 978-1-109-45028-6
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