Plasma waves can support extremely large accelerating fields, several orders of magnitude greater than conventional accelerators. Hence they can provide a compact method of generating energetic charged particle beams. Plasma waves suitable for particle acceleration may be resonantly excited using the radiation pressure from intense, high-power, ultrashort laser pulses. Laser-driven plasma accelerator experiments at the BELLA (BErkeley Lab Laser Accelerator) Facility at LBNL have demonstrated electron beams accelerated to multi-GeV energies over cm-scale plasmas. Compact electron beams at GeV energies are being used to develop novel compact photon sources, including free electron lasers and MeV photons from Thomson scattering. In this talk I will review recent experimental progress in the field, the path to higher energies and higher beam brightness, as well as potential applications of plasma-based accelerator technology.
Carl B. Schroeder is a Senior Scientist in the Accelerator Technology & Applied Physics Division, and Deputy Director of the BELLA Center at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1999. He then was a UCLA postdoctoral fellow, where his research focused on the development of x-ray free-electron lasers at SLAC. He joined LBNL in 2001, where his chief research interests have been the development of advanced accelerator concepts, plasma-based accelerators, and novel radiation sources. He received the 2010 APS Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research, and became a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2012.