U.S. Particle Accelerator School

Applications of Lasers to Accelerators course

Sponsoring University:

MIT

Course:

Applications of Lasers to Accelerators

Instructors:

James Rosenzweig, UCLA and Dennis Palmer, Stanford University


The methods and technologies of lasers and modern photon optics have found many uses in present accelerators, with many potential new applications now being explored. This course presents a survey of these applications from the accelerator physics point of view. We begin with an exploration of photon beams based on the standard methods of charged particle optics, exploiting the similarities between the stability analysis of laser resonators and storage ring lattices. We then extend the analogies between photon beams and particle beams to their description in phase space, in order to discuss the relationship between beam envelope descriptions, classical emittances, wave diffraction, and Fourier transform methods. With these fundamentals in hand, we then discuss an array of uses, beginning with the two laser-matter interactions which are used as tools in modern accelerators: production of high brightness electron pulses in rf cavities by picosecond laser excitation of photocathodes, and laser cooling of ion beams in storage rings. We then discuss the role of high power lasers in creating new types of acceleration techniques, using plasmas (the laser wake-field accelerator) and material structures (resonant optical accelerators), with emphasis on both the similarities to existing accelerators and new challenges presented by these emerging technologies. We finally examine the inverse process, production of photon beams from particle beams; we describe the physics of the free-electron laser, a device based on high-brightness electron beams which is now viewed as the path to creating very high power, ultra-short wavelength coherent photon pulses. Problems will be assigned daily. Familiarity with Introductory Accelerator Physics is required.