U.S. Particle Accelerator School

Laser-Plasma Accelerators course

Sponsoring University:

Duke University


Laser-Plasma Accelerators
Duke PHY745 Section 4, "Special Topics in Accelerator Physics"


Carl Schroeder and Eric Esarey, 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 laser-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-plasma interactions, laser-driven plasma wave excitation (linear and nonlinear), 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, and laser-plasma instabilities.

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