University of Birmingham > Talks@bham > Metamaterials and Nanophotonics Group Seminars > Exploiting terahertz radiation sources for particle acceleration: A route to future table-top accelerators

Exploiting terahertz radiation sources for particle acceleration: A route to future table-top accelerators

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Miguel Navarro-Cia.

Radio-frequency (RF) accelerating cavities used in current particle accelerators are typically limited to accelerating gradients of 100 MVm-1. To achieve the desired increase in acceleration gradient for future particle accelerators while enabling a reduction in the size and cost requires a fundamentally new approach. Free-space acceleration with ultrafast laser driven terahertz radiation sources offer a promising alternative. Such terahertz radiation sources have a number of characteristics that makes them ideal for the acceleration of relativistic particles within accelerators. They can provide electromagnetic pulses with electric field strengths in excess of 100 MVm-1 and they have an oscillation period which matches the particle bunch lengths that are produced in conventional RF accelerators. The challenge in using freely propagating electromagnetic radiation for particle acceleration is in maximising the interaction length between the radiation and the particle beam. The phase slippage of the radiation with respect to the particle bunch velocity, v, can limit the effective interaction length as v < c. In comparison to using optical frequencies, the use of terahertz frequency radiation is attractive because the particle bunches and radiation pulses can remain in phase over longer distances. In this talk I will present our work on developing ultrafast laser-driven terahertz radiation sources suitable for the acceleration of charged particles and our initial work in realising a proof-of-principle terahertz acceleration experiment. This will include a discussion of our work on developing sources which can be focused to produce radiation with a novel polarisation state aligned along the direction of beam propagation and our more recent work on developing a terahertz source with a sub-luminal phase velocity that can be tuned to match the velocity of the particle beam.

This talk is part of the Metamaterials and Nanophotonics Group Seminars series.

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