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Project PATEF
Research Area Plasma Physics
Principal Investigator(s) Luís O. Silva
  • Instituto Superior Técnico, Portugal
  • University of California Los Angeles, USA
  • STFC/ Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK


Ultra intense lasers have opened some of the most exciting new fields and avenues nowadays for research. Extreme laser intensities, associated with intensities in excess of 1022 W/cm2 and pulse durations shorter than 1 picosecond, where the electron quiver motion in the laser field becomes relativistic, are an extraordinary tool for new physics and new applications (which has already been called relativistic engineering) and are becoming widely available in many laboratories around the World. One of the most exciting applications of these systems are compact plasma-based accelerators; recently near 1 GeV electron beams have been produced in experiments at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) and the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL). Near future laser systems, such as the 10 PW laser at RAL, open the way to electron beams very close to the energy frontier, with our theoretical models indicating the possibility to generate up to 50 GeV electron beams in laser-guided configurations. In this proposal, and using a combination of massively parallel simulations in Lorentz boosted reference frames, we aim to address this new regime of laser-plasma accelerators by performing transformative one-to-one three dimensional simulations including all the relevant microphysics, with the particle-in-cell code OSIRIS, capable of demonstrating the potential of using plasma-based accelerators to develop compact particle accelerators to use at the energy frontier, in medicine, in novel light sources, and in probing new materials.

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