U.S. Particle Accelerator School

Laser-Plasma Accelerators

Sponsoring University:

University of California, Davis

Course Name:

Laser-Plasma Accelerators


Carl Schroeder, Eric Esarey, Stepan Bulanov and Carlo Benedetti, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

Purpose and Audience
The purpose of this course is to introduce the students to the physics of laser-driven and plasma-based accelerators and radiation sources.  The course is suitable for graduate and senior undergraduate students wishing to learn more about advanced accelerator concepts that rely on recent advances in laser technology. 

A working knowledge of electromagnetism. Some exposure to plasma physics is helpful.

It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that he or she meets the course prerequisites or has equivalent experience.

This course will present the basic physics of laser-plasma and laser-beam interactions.  The course will focus on laser-plasma-based accelerator concepts with emphasis on basic principles.  On completion of this course, the students will have a basic understanding of laser physics, laser-plasma interactions, and plasma-based accelerator concepts.

Instructional Method
This course includes a series of nine lectures during morning and afternoon sessions. Problem sets will be assigned that will be completed outside of the scheduled class sessions.

Course Content
This course will review electromagnetic wave propagation, particle acceleration in vacuum and gases, the ponderomotive force, laser-driven plasma wave excitation (linear and nonlinear) in underdense plasma, charged particle dynamics in plasma waves, trapping of plasma electrons and injection into plasma waves, charged particle beam-driven plasma waves, laser pulse propagation and guiding in plasma, laser-plasma instabilities, laser-solid interactions, laser acceleration of ions, and numerical methods for modeling plasma accelerators.

Reading Requirements
There are no required texts. The course will use introductory, review, and journal articles from the literature (to be provided by the USPAS).

Credit Requirements
Students will be evaluated based on performance on problem sets and the final exam.

IU/USPAS course: Physics 671

UC Davis course number:
163EDN671 Advanced Topics
Indiana University course number: Physics 671, Advanced Topics in Accelerator Physics
Michigan State University course number: PHY 963, U.S. Particle Accelerator School
MIT course number: 8.790, Accelerator Physics