Overview of recent experimental results on Particle Wake Field Acceleration

Aula B. Touschek (Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati, Via Enrico Fermi 40, Frascati)

Aula B. Touschek

Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati, Via Enrico Fermi 40, Frascati

Via Enrico Fermi 40 00044 Frascati

Particle accelerators for particle physics and light sources are large and expensive. There are a number of advanced accelerator schemes that aim at significantly increasing the accelerating gradient to reduce the size of these accelerators. Among them, the beam-driven, plasma-based accelerator, know as the plasma wakefield accelerator or PWFA. In the PWFA a relativistic particle bunch drives large amplitude wakefield in a plasma. The accelerating field can reach 10GV/m, while the focusing strength is in the MT/m range for plasma densities around 1017 cm3. Thanks to this large gradient and strong focusing, trailing electrons gained 42 GeV along only 85 cm of plasma in a PWFA at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory [I. Blumenfeld et al., Nature 445, 741 (2007)]. These experiments also produced a wealth of beam and plasma physics results, both with electron and positron bunches. At the same time, PWFA experiments at the Brookhaven National Laboratory using a low energy electron beam aim at demonstrating resonant excitation of plasma wakefields. The electron beam is tailored using a masking technique [P. Muggli et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 101, 054801 (2008)] to reach large transformer ratios and to test ideas that will be applied future high-energy PWFA experiments at the SLAC FACET facility. These results have triggered a renewed interest in the PWFA, and new experiments are planned at CERN. The goal is to use the large energy of LHC-like proton bunches (>10kJ/bunch) to accelerate a trailing electron bunch to the TeV energy range in a single PWFA section. The remarkable recent progress of the PWFA makes it one of the leading advanced acceleration schemes for a future collider or a linac-based light source. I will give an overview of the experimental results obtained to date, and describe future experiments and challenges to make the PWFA a new accelerator technology.

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