Laser-plasma acceleration awarded by the French Physical Society
The experiments conducted by Cédric Thaury consist in focusing an energetic light beam on a target material in order to create a plasma, i.e. a gas of negatively charged electrons and positively charged ions. These charges are then separated at most, creating a strong electric field capable of propelling electrons. This is laser-plasma acceleration. Over a few millimetres, the accelerated electrons reach energies equivalent to those obtained over several tens of metres with standard particle accelerators, which opens up prospects for miniaturisation. The work of the Laboratoire d’optique appliquée (Applied Optics Laboratory LOA*), which won the Jean-Louis Laclare prize from the Accelerator Division of the French Physical Society, is a pioneering example of the use of plasma waveguides to increase the energy acquired by electrons. For Cédric Thaury, “this is a great recognition for this field of research, which was initially developed at LOA under the impetus of Victor Malka and Jérôme Faure.”
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*LOA: a joint research unit CNRS, École Polytechnique - Institut Polytechnique de Paris, ENSTA Paris - Institut Polytechnique de Paris