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BELLA’s Eric Esarey honored with Advanced Accelerator Concepts Prize

Eric Esarey, a senior scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Accelerator Technology and Applied Physics Division (ATAP), has been awarded the 2018 Advanced Accelerator Concepts Prize “for his pioneering theoretical research in the physics of laser-plasma accelerators.”

The prize, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the science and technology of advanced accelerator concepts, is awarded at the biennial Advanced Accelerator Concepts Workshop. Esarey joins a who’s who of researchers in cutting-edge approaches to particle acceleration, including ATAP Director Wim Leemans, who was honored in 2012.

Esarey came to Berkeley Lab 20 years ago, bringing plasma-theory expertise to the burgeoning effort in laser-plasma accelerators that is now known as BELLA Center. Previously he had worked for 12 years at the Naval Research Laboratory after earning his doctorate from MIT.


Theory and experiment have been partners in BELLA from the outset in the understanding of how intense lasers and plasmas interact, how an electron beam can “surf” the resulting electromagnetic wave, and how the promise of practical accelerators based on this principle might be fulfilled. Esarey serves as BELLA Center’s deputy, leading the theoretical and computational work that guides and supports the experimental efforts, and is also senior scientific advisor of ATAP Division.

Esarey was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) in 1996 for “seminal scientific contributions to the physics of intense laser-plasma interaction.” In 2010, the APS honored him with the John Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research “for experiments and theory leading to the demonstration of high-quality electron beams from laser-plasma accelerators.”

AAC 2018 student-poster honors for BELLA’s Liona Fan-Chiang

BELLA Center and UC-Berkeley graduate student Liona Fan-Chiang was one of eight student poster honorees at the Advanced Accelerator Concepts Workship, winning for “Planar Laser-Induced Fluorescence for Custom Laser Plasma Accelerator Targets.”

Liona Fan-Chiang
Click for larger version
Liona Fan-Chiang previewed her award-winning presentation when DOE’s General Accelerator R&D Program Comparative Review came to LBNL in August 2018. Leemans and staff scientist Hann-Shin Mao collaborated with her on the work described in the poster.

The win continues an emerging tradition: Kelly Swanson of BELLA and UCB, who like Fan-Chiang is one of Leemans’s students, won student-poster honors at AAC 2016, as did Manuel Kirchen, a BELLA visitor from the University of Hamburg and DESY.

Berkeley Lab’s fruitful association with AAC continues

Fan-Chiang’s presentation was part of a strong Berkeley Lab presence (28 participants, who among them gave 20 orals, including three invited plenaries; three working-group summaries; and six posters) at the Workshop.

In 2020, the AAC Workshop will be hosted by Berkeley Lab (which had co-organized the 2008 AAC, together with UC-Berkeley). Esarey will chair the 2020 event.


Report on Laser Technology for k-BELLA and Beyond Available

Click to download Report of Workshop on Laser Technology for k-BELLA and Beyond (September 2017).

The report comes from a workshop, held at LBNL May 9-11, on near- and long-term technology prospects for ultrafast lasers that could operate in the multi-kW to even tens-of-kW average power range. Such laser performance is needed for k-BELLA, further stepping stones to a laser-plasma accelerator relevant to high-energy physics, and spinoff benefits en route.

Leemans Wins IEEE’s Particle Accelerator Science & Technology Award

ilan_wim_1_250x234y
Brookhaven’s Ilan Ben-Zvi (l.) presents the award to Leemans
Dr. Wim Leemans, BELLA Center and Accelerator Technology and Applied Physics Division Director, was recognized with the IEEE Particle Accelerator Science and Technology Award. He received the award in an October 13, 2016 ceremony at the North American Particle Accelerator Conference (NA-PAC 2016).

Leemans was honored “for pioneering development of laser-plasma accelerators.” One of the leaders in the field, he is director of ATAP’s Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator (BELLA) Center as well as of ATAP. He had already been elected a Fellow of the IEEE.

At each NA-PAC, the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society gives this award to two individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the development of particle accelerator science and technology.

“It’s quite an honor to be in such company,” says Leemans of the accelerator science and technology luminaries who have been recognized with the PAST Award. He joins four previous recipients from ATAP and its predecessor organizations, starting with inaugural winner L. Jackson Laslett and including Ronald M. Scanlan, Ka-Ngo Leung, and Alpert Garren.

BELLA Center’s Cameron Geddes Named a Fellow of the American Physical Society

CGRGeddes_150x180y_28July2015 BELLA Center’s Dr. Cameron Geddes has joined the ranks of Fellows of the APS. Geddes was honored in 2016 “for research demonstrating the production of high quality electron beams from laser plasma accelerators.”

APS Fellows are recognized by their peers “for exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise; e.g., outstanding physics research, important applications of physics, leadership in or service to physics, or significant contributions to physics education.” Geddes joins 25 other present and former staff members of ATAP and its predecessor organization, the Accelerator and Fusion Research Division, to be so honored. Six other researchers associated with Berkeley Lab also received the distinction in 2016.

Early Career Research Program Award for BELLA Center’s Jeroen van Tilborg

JVanTilborg_75x90y BELLA scientist Jeroen van Tilborg has received a DOE Early Career Research Program Award. He joins Chad Mitchell of the ATAP Division’s Center for Beam Physics among LBNL’s five 2016 recipients. They were among 49 winners nationwide out of 720 applicants in this prestigious Office of Science program for researchers who have received their PhD within the last 10 years. Click here for an LBNL Public Affairs story about the May 3 announcement.


BELLA Center Demonstrates Staging; Major Proof of Concept On Road to Future Laser-Plasma Accelerators

Staging_sim_cookie_150x149y Many laser-plasma accelerator (LPA) applications will require far more beam energy than is reasonable to achieve in a single accelerating stage. BELLA Center researchers have recently demonstrated coupling of an accelerated beam from one LPA stage into another. This is considered an essential technique for the future of LPA Their work is described in an article published February 1, 2016 in Nature.

In addition to being a pathway to higher energies, staging can also be used to decelerate an electron beam that has served its purpose, rather than sending it to a beam dump that must be shielded against the radiation that would result. This could further improve the compactness of, say, future light sources, or portable applications in homeland security or medical treatment.

To learn more, see the February 2016 edition of the ATAP Newsletter.

LPA_FEL_100x67y   Moore Foundation Backs BELLA FEL with $2.4M Grant

BELLA researchers will receive $2.4 million from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to develop compact free-electron lasers that will serve as powerful, affordable x-ray sources for scientific discovery. This new technology could lead to portable and high-contrast imaging with x-ray accelerators to observe chemical reactions, visualize the flow of electrons, or watch biological processes unfold. To learn more, see the February 2016 edition of the ATAP Newsletter.

Workshops forge aspects of plasma accelerator futures

A pair of workshops hosted by ATAP Division in January, with results that are feeding into higher-level strategic-planning processes in the plasma-based-accelerator and laser-technology communities, will have implications for the next moves of BELLA and the future of accelerators. The Plasma-Based Accelerator Concepts for Colliders Workshop was intended to “identify the key physics and technology R&D needed to realize a plasma-based collider, and to formulate a nationally and internationally coordinated roadmap for carrying out this research over the next two decades.”

Besides electrons, the present and future BELLA lasers and laser-plasma acceleration concepts also offer the prospect of compact, efficient acceleration of ions. The repetition rate, spot size, and intensity of BELLA lasers could open new doors for discovery science related to plasma physics, high-energy-density physics, and nuclear physics, with spinoff prospects including cancer treatment and nuclear security. The Workshop on High Energy Density Physics with BELLA-i discussed this unique opportunity for discovery science as well as applications.

Visit the April 2016 ATAP Newsletter for more information on these workshops.

BELLA reaches 4.2 GeV, a record energy for laser-plasma accelerators

Nine-cm-long capillary discharge waveguide used to generate multi-GeV electron beams. Plasma plume made more prominent with HDR photography. (LBNL photo by Roy Kaltschmidt.) DECEMBER 2014 — BELLA has set a new energy record for these compact accelerators by reaching 4.2 giga-electron-volts in the nine-inch capillary discharge waveguide shown here. In this photo by LBNL's Roy Kaltschmidt, the plasma plume has been made more prominent with HDR photography. More…

BELLA Center study points to easing of laser-pulse quality requirements for pulse combining in LPAs

3D map of the longitudinal wakefield generated by the incoherent combination of 208 low-energy laser beamlets MAY 2014 — One attractive approach to producing powerful laser pulses, as required in laser-plasma accelerators, involves combining many lower-powered pulses. Theory-guided modeling at the BELLA Center suggests that when the destination is the plasma of an LPA, the similarity of these pulses does not need to be as rigorous as previously thought—welcome news for the cost and complexity of LPA systems. Their work is the cover story in the May 2014 issue of Physics of Plasmas, and is summarized and interpreted in this news release by American Institute of Physics staff and this story by LBNL Public Affairs.

BELLA Team honored with Secretary of Energy Achievement Award

From left, Sergio Zimmermann of Engineering, who was the Project Manager; Wim Leemans, who was Project Director and is now Center Director; Suzanne Suskind, the DOE Federal Project Director for BELLA; David Klaus, Deputy Under Secretary for Management and Performance; and Ted Lavine, the DOE Office of Science Program Manager for BELLA.
L-R: Sergio Zimmermann, Wim Leemans, Suzanne Suskind, David Klaus, and Ted Lavine at the award presentation.
APRIL 2014 — The project team behind BELLA has been commended by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz for “outstanding ingenuity and exceptional project performance” resulting in a facility that is now “operating at unprecedented performance levels and enabling breakthrough advances”. On hand to accept the award at the recent DOE Project Management Workshop were (from left) Wim Leemans of AFRD, who was Project Director and is now Center Director, and Sergio Zimmermann of Engineering, who was the Project Manager; Suzanne Suskind, the DOE Federal Project Director for BELLA; David Klaus, Deputy Under Secretary for Management and Performance; and Ted Lavine, the DOE Office of Science Program Manager for BELLA.

BELLA Laser achieves world record power at one pulse per second

The BELLA laser bay at a late stage of construction, "front end" in foreground
BELLA laser bay at a late stage of construction, "front end" in foreground
July 20, 2012 — On this night the BELLA laser system delivered a petawatt of power in a pulse just 40 femtoseconds long at a pulse rate of one hertz — one pulse every second. A petawatt is 1015 watts, a quadrillion watts, and a femtosecond is 10-15 second, a quadrillionth of a second. No other laser system has achieved this peak power at this rapid pulse rate. For further information, see the LBNL press release and this Scientific American news item.


Wim Leemans wins AAC 2012 Prize

Leemans ca. 2012

JUNE 14, 2012 — The third Advanced Accelerator Concepts (AAC) Prize was awarded to Dr. Wim Leemans of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), head of the BELLA Center, “for outstanding contributions to the science and technology of laser-plasma accelerators.” More information can be found at the AAC 2012 website.


State-of-the-Art Beams From Table-Top Accelerators

Diagram of spectroscopy apparatus - click for larger version
Diagram of spectroscopy apparatus. Click for larger version.
AUGUST 2010 — Laser-plasma accelerators can produce high-energy electron beams with an emittance as good as beams from state-of-the-art conventional accelerators for free electron lasers and gamma-ray sources. The emittance of LPA beams has been measured using a new technique based on single-shot x-ray spectroscopy. The research appears in Physical Review Letters: “Low-emittance electron bunches from a laser-plasma accelerator measured using single-shot x-ray spectroscopy,” by G.R. Plateau, C.G.R. Geddes, D.B. Thorn, M. Chen, C. Benedetti, E. Esarey, A. J. Gonsalves, N.H. Matlis, K. Nakamura, C. B. Schroeder, S. Shiraishi, T. Sokollik, J. van Tilborg, Cs. Toth, S. Trotsenko, T. S. Kim, M. Battaglia, Th. Stöhlker, and W.P. Leemans, August 2010. For more information, see this LBNL press release. The technical paper is available here.

BELLA Center Members Win 2010 Dawson Award

L-R: Csaba Toth, Eric Esarey, Wim Leemans, Cameron Geddes, and Carl Schroeder
L-R: Toth, Esarey, Leemans, Geddes, Schroeder
JULY 12, 2010 — “For experiments and theory leading to the demonstration of high-quality electron beams from laser-plasma accelerators,” the American Physical Society’s 2010 John Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research has been given to (from left) Csaba Toth, Eric Esarey, Wim Leemans, Cameron Geddes, and Carl Schroeder of the BELLA Center, which Leemans heads. Simon Hooker of Oxford University collaborated in the research that inspired the award, and shares the prize. The award was presented at the APS Division of Plasma Physics meeting in Chicago, November 8-12, 2010. To learn more, see this issue of Today at Berkeley Lab.


Wim Leemans Wins 2009 E.O. Lawrence Award

Leemans ca. 2012

DECEMBER 16, 2009 — Wim Leemans, head of the BELLA Center, is one of six 2009 recipients of the U.S. Department of Energy’s highest honor, the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award, for his pioneering research with laser wakefield accelerators.
For more information, see the LBNL press release.


GeV electron beams from a cm-scale accelerator

Data from GeV-on-cm-scale paper

1 GeV in only 3.3 cm

OCTOBER 2006 — BELLA Center researchers, together with colleagues from the University of Oxford, have accelerated electrons to more than 1 GeV in only 3.3 cm. This is the highest energy achieved with laser-wakefield acceleration, which harnesses the electric field of a plasma wave driven by a laser beam. Results have been published in “GeV electron beams from a cm-scale accelerator”, W. P. Leemans, B. Nagler, A. J. Gonsalves, Cs. Toth, K. Nakamura, C.G.R. Geddes, E. Esarey, C.B. Schroeder, and S.M. Hooker, Nature Physics 2 (October 2006), pp. 696-699. More information can be found in this LBNL press release. The technical paper describing the achievement is nphys418.

High-quality electron beams from a laser wakefield accelerator using plasma-channel guiding

guidingchannel
High-quality 100 MeV beams
SEPTEMBER 2004 — High-quality electron beams have been obtained by first shaping a channel through hydrogen gas with powerful, precisely timed laser pulses, then accelerating bunches of electrons through the plasma inside the channel. Because of the controlled accelerator length and the characteristics of the channel, there are several billion electrons in each bunch within a few percent of the same high energy, more than 80 MeV. Results have been published in “High-quality electron beams from a laser wakefield accelerator using plasma-channel guiding”, C.G.R. Geddes, Cs. Toth, J. van Tilborg, E. Esarey, C. Schroeder, D. Bruhwiler, C. Nieter, J. Cary, and W.P. Leemans, Nature 431 (September 2004), pp. 538-541. For more information, see the LBNL press release. The technical journal article is here.