Mechanisms of electron injection into laser wakefields by a weak counter-propagating pulse
Department of Physics, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, 200240, China
2 Beijing National Laboratory of Condensed Matter Physics, Laboratory of Optical Physics, Institute of Physics, CAS, Beijing, 100080, China
3 Central Laser Facility, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK
Numerical studies are conducted on the electron injection into the first acceleration bucket of a laser wakefield by a weak counter-propagating laser pulse. It is shown that there are two injection mechanisms involved during the colliding laser interaction, the collective injection and stochastic injection. They are caused by the time-averaged ponderomotive force push and stochastic acceleration in the interfering fields, respectively. The threshold amplitude of the injection laser pulse is estimated for the occurrence of electron injection, which is close to that for stochastic acceleration and depends weakly upon the plasma density. The trapping of a large number of injection electrons can result in significant decay of the laser wakefield behind the first wave bucket.
© EDP Sciences, Springer-Verlag, 2009