Transverse Space-Charge Field-Induced Plasma Dynamics for Ultraintense Electron-Beam Characterization

Tarkeshian, Roxana; Vay, J. L.; Lehe, R.; Schroeder, C. B.; Esarey, E. H.; Feurer, Thomas; Leemans, W. P. (2018). Transverse Space-Charge Field-Induced Plasma Dynamics for Ultraintense Electron-Beam Characterization. Physical review X, 8(2) American Physical Society 10.1103/PhysRevX.8.021039

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Similarly to laser or x-ray beams, the interaction of sufficiently intense particle beams with neutral gases will result in the creation of plasma. In contrast to photon-based ionization, the strong unipolar field of a particle beam can generate a plasma where the electron population receives a large initial momentum kick and escapes, leaving behind unshielded ions. Measuring the properties of the ensuing Coulomb exploding ions—such as their kinetic energy distribution, yield, and spatial distribution—can provide information about the peak electric fields that are achieved in the electron beams. Particle-in-cell simulations and analytical models are presented for high-brightness electron beams of a few femtoseconds or even hundreds of attoseconds, and transverse beam sizes on the micron scale, as generated by today’s free electron lasers. Different density regimes for the utilization as a potential diagnostics are explored, and the fundamental differences in plasma dynamical behavior for e-beam or photon-based ionization are highlighted. By measuring the dynamics of field-induced ions for different gas and beam densities, a lower bound on the beam charge density can be obtained in a single shot and in a noninvasive way. The exponential dependency of the ionization yield on the beam properties can provide unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution, at the submicrometer and subfemtosecond scales, respectively, offering a practical and powerful approach to characterizing beams from accelerators at the frontiers of performance.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Applied Physics
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Applied Physics > Lasers

UniBE Contributor:

Tarkeshian, Roxana, Feurer, Thomas


600 Technology > 620 Engineering




American Physical Society




Simone Corry

Date Deposited:

24 Sep 2018 10:35

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:18

Publisher DOI:





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