The large electrical fields present in laser beams have long prompted speculations on their use for accelerating particles. A perspective on the specifications of a competitive accelerator for high-energy physics may be provided by reflecting that the existing proton synchrotron at Fermilab delivers 1013 particles at 1/2 × 1012 eV, or ~ 106 J, in one pulse. A useful laser accelerator would have to accelerate a bunch of at least 1010 particles, with a gradient of more than 109 eV/m. Then the power going into the beam is greater than 1/2 × 109 W. Since the acceleration efficiency is likely to be small, we see that very powerful lasers will be required, independent of the details of the acceleration mechanism.
KeywordsWave Packet Light Wave Phase Match Coulomb Force Accelerate Particle
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