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Measuring Table-Top Accelerators’ State-of-the-Art Beams

“Slicing through the electron beam” is the second installment of a two-part feature about new techniques to test beam quality in laser plasma accelerators, including the metric known as slice-energy spread. As Berkeley Lab accelerator scientists meet the challenges of measuring extraordinarily short pulses in a complex environment, the approaching advent of the one-meter-long, 10-billion-electron-volt Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator (BELLA) brings the promise of “table-top accelerators” closer to realization.

State-of-the-Art Beams From Table-Top Accelerators

“Emittance” is the first subject in a two-part feature about novel methods devised by Berkeley Lab scientists to test the quality of hard-to-assess beams from laser plasma accelerators. These table-top accelerators propel electron pulses to high energies within a few centimeters, promising far less expensive future accelerators with far less environmental impact than today’s conventional machines.

BELLA Laser Achieves World Record Power at One Pulse Per Second

The laser system for BELLA, the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator, recently delivered a petawatt of power – a quadrillion watts – in a pulse just 40 femtoseconds long – a quadrillionth of a second — at a rate of one pulse per second. No other laser system has achieved this peak power at this rapid pulse rate. BELLA’s laser should soon be driving electron beams to 10-billion-electron-volt energies in an accelerator just one meter long.

A New Accelerator to Study Steps on the Path to Fusion

Berkeley Lab’s NDCX-II, the recently completed second generation Neutralized Drift Compression Experiment, is a compact accelerator whose dense ion beam will be able to deliver a powerful punch for producing warm dense matter – a step on the road to heavy-ion nuclear fusion. Research with NDCX-II will make advances in the acceleration, compression, and focusing of intense ion beams to inform and guide this promising approach to fusion energy power production.

APEX: At the Forefront of What’s Needed for the Next Generation of Light Sources

An extraordinary “front end” for the next generation of light sources is taking shape at Berkeley Lab’s Beam Test Facility. APEX, an electron gun that will produce a continuous beam of tight electron bunches at the unprecedented repetition rate of a million bunches a second, is well on the way to becoming the must-have source for superconducting linear accelerators to power future free electron lasers.

The First Spectroscopic Measurement of an Anti-Atom

Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have played leading roles in designing and operating ALPHA, the CERN experiment that was the first to capture and hold atoms of antihydrogen, a single antiproton orbited by a single positron. Now, by measuring antihydrogen’s hyperfine structure, ALPHA has achieved another first in antimatter science with the very first measurements of the energy spectrum of an anti-atom.

In memoriam, Clyde Taylor, 1930-2011

Clyde Taylor, pioneering scientist and engineer of superconducting magnet technology at Lawrence Livermore and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, died November 16, 2011.

Part II: The Energy that Drives the Stars – Different Technologies for Unique Demands

A special accelerator being constructed at Berkeley Lab will be used to study the physics of warm dense matter, which occurs in such astrophysical phenomena as the cores of giant planets and dwarf stars. The necessary techniques for producing warm dark matter on Earth are directly applicable to the accelerators and beam physics essential to heavy-ion fusion, a promising approach for electrical power production and long the choice of Berkeley Lab accelerator physicists. This is the second of two features on current research and the road ahead.

Part I: The Energy that Drives the Stars Comes Closer to Earth

Heavy-ion fusion, a special approach to creating fusion for electrical power production, has long been the choice of Berkeley Lab accelerator physicists. Now the near prospect of “burn and gain” at the National Ignition Facility plus a forthcoming National Academies report on inertial confinement fusion energy have spurred new interest in heavy-ion fusion. This is Part I of a two-part overview of current research and the road ahead.

Beams to Order from Table-Top Accelerators

Laser plasma accelerators could create powerful electron beams within a fraction of the space required by conventional accelerators and light sources – and at a fraction of the cost. But fulfilling the promise of “table-top accelerators” requires the ability to tune stable, high-quality beams through a range of energies. Berkeley Lab scientists have demonstrated a two-stage, tunable laser plasma accelerator that meets the goal.