Electron-Positron Plasmas Created by Ultra-Intense Laser Pulses Interacting with Solid Targets
Source: Astrophysics and Space Science, Volume 298, Numbers 1-2, July 2005 , pp. 347-355(9)
Abstract:We discuss the necessary requirements to create dense electron-positron plasmas in the laboratory and the possibility of using them to investigate certain aspects of various astrophysical phenomena, such as gamma ray burst engines. Earth-based electron-positron plasmas are created during the interaction of ultra-intense laser pulses impinging on a solid density target. The fact that positrons can be generated during this interaction has already been demonstrated by Cowan et al. (2000). However, several questions concerning the number, energy, and dynamics of these positrons have yet to be answered. Through insight gathered from PIC simulations, we postulate that the e+e− plasma leaves the creation region in dense jets, with relativistic energies. In order to estimate the number density of the positrons created, we begin by first experimentally measuring the hot electron temperatures and densities of such interactions using a compact electron spectrometer. Once the electron distribution is known, the positron creation rate, Γ, can be estimated. This same experimental diagnostic can also, with minor modification, measure the energy distribution of positrons. Initial estimates are that, with proper target and laser configurations, we could potentially create one of the densest arraignments of positrons ever assembled on earth. This experimental configuration would only last for a few femtoseconds, but would eventually evolve into astrophysically relevant pure electron-positron jets, possibly relevant to e+e− outflow from black holes.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: July 1, 2005