Acceleration of relativistic beams using laser-generated terahertz pulses

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • External authors:
  • Morgan Hibberd
  • Alisa Healy
  • Daniel Lake
  • Vasileios Georgiadis
  • Elliott Smith
  • Oliver J. Finlay
  • Thomas Pacey
  • James K. Jones
  • Yuri Saveliev
  • David A. Walsh
  • Edward W. Snedden
  • Graeme Burt
  • Steven P Jamison


Particle accelerators driven by laser-generated terahertz (THz) pulses promise unprecedented control over the energy-time phase-space of particle bunches compared with conventional radio-frequency technology. Here, we make a breakthrough achievement by demonstrating for the first time acceleration of a relativistic electron beam in a THz-driven linear accelerator. Narrowband THz pulses were tuned to the phase-velocity-matched operating frequency of a rectangular dielectric-lined waveguide for extended collinear interaction with 35 MeV, 60 pC electron bunches, imparting multi-cycle energy modulation to chirped (6 ps) bunches and injection-phase-dependent energy gain (up to 10 keV) to sub-cycle (2 ps) bunches. These proof-of-principle results establish a route to whole-bunch linear acceleration of sub-picosecond particle beams, directly applicable to scaled-up and multi-staged concepts capable of preserving beam quality, thus marking a key milestone for future THz-driven acceleration of relativistic beams.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Photonics
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2020

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