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Giant collimated gamma-ray flashes

Bright sources of high-energy electromagnetic radiation are widely employed in fundamental research, industry and medicine1,2. This motivated the construction of Compton-based facilities planned to yield bright gamma-ray pulses with energies up to 3 20 MeV. Here, we demonstrate a novel mechanism based on the strongly amplified synchrotron emission that occurs when a sufficiently dense ultra-relativistic electron beam interacts with a millimetre-thickness conductor. For electron beam densities exceeding approximately 3 × 1019 cm−3, electromagnetic instabilities occur, and the ultra-relativistic electrons travel through self-generated electromagnetic fields as large as 107–108 gauss. This results in the production of a collimated gamma-ray pulse with peak brilliance above 1025 photons s−1 mrad−2 mm−2 per 0.1% bandwidth, photon energies ranging from 200 keV to gigaelectronvolts and up to 60% electron-to-photon energy conversion efficiency. These findings pave the way to compact, high-repetition-rate (kilohertz) sources of short (≲30 fs), collimated (milliradian) and high-flux (>1012 photons s−1) gamma-ray pulses.

Authors:   Alberto Benedetti; Matteo Tamburini; Christoph H. Keitel
Journal:   Nature Photonics
Year:   2018
Pages:   1
DOI:   10.1038/s41566-018-0139-y
Publication date:   16-Apr-2018
Facts, background information, dossiers
  • photons
  • Research
  • production
  • Flux
  • Energy
  • electromagnetic radiation
  • electromagnetic fields
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