Particle-in-cell Simulations of Inverse Compton Scattering

Jamison Edward Thorne


Producing high-quality x rays could have important applications to high-precision medical imaging and national security. A method consisting in reflecting a short-pulse laser onto a “relativistic mirror” (a moving sheet of electrons) has been proposed and recently demonstrated. The purpose of this project is to carry some numerical simulation and investigate possible manipulations of the laser and electron-beam shape that could lead to substantial improvement of the X ray’s production. Methods: Colliding a short-pulse optical laser on a moving electron beam produces X rays. Recently this method was demonstrated by shooting the “drive” laser on nanometer thick metallic foil. The electrons were stripped from the foil and rapidly accelerated before colliding head-on with the second “probe” laser pulses fired toward these electrons. A burst of ultraviolet radiation was produced and analyzed with a XUV spectrometer. The process of producing radiation by impinging an electron with a laser is called inverse Compton scattering. My research is to investigate a slightly different scheme where no “drive” laser pulse is required. Instead a moving electron-beam sheet (often dubbed as relativistic mirror) produced by a conventional particle accelerator is directly collided with the “probe” pulse. To tackle the problem of inverse Compton scattering, I will use a numerical model developed by NIU graduate student Ivan Viti. The model is implemented in the open-source WARP computer-software framework developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. WARP is simulation software that can solve arbitrary electro dynamical problems. To execute this work I will utilize the PYTHON open-source scripting language. In addition PYTHON will also be used to analyze the large amount of data outputted by WARP. I will use the concept of Fast-Fourier transformations to analyze the simulated electromagnetic fields. Results and Conclusion: I will explore how the distributions of the electron beam and laser pulse effect the generation of X rays. I hope to eventually optimize the electron-beam and laser-pulse distribution to enhance the properties of the X rays. The exploration of the impact of the relativistic-mirror parameters on the X ray production will by itself be an important study that will be worth presenting at a conference.


Electron Beam; Coherent Light Source; Electrodynamics

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.