Generation of a static plasma electron grating
A grid of equidistant electron stripes is generated during the collision of two laser pulses under a small angle in underdense plasma. Due to the oblique incidence, transverse standing wave in plasma is observed, in addition to the longitudinal traveling wave of the compound laser field. This standing wave results in the generation of plasma density grating. The ratio of the peak stripe density to background density can reach the value of 20:1. The grating period is determined by the interaction angle. Analytical theory of the compound electric fields is provided for plane waves. The grating formation is then verified via particle-in-cell simulations for short Gaussian laser pulses with typical experimental parameters. In addition, the interference pattern was also observed during experiments with Diocles laser. The results presented here are relevant for many laser-plasma applications, such as Raman scattering, inertial confinement fusion, plasma photonic crystals and laser wakefield acceleration.
Institute of Plasma Physics of the CAS, v.v.i. (Czech Republic), Czech Technical Univ. in Prague (Czech Republic)