Berkeley Lab


The BELLA laser during construction
9-cm BELLA plasma channel
BELLA laser rainbow scattering from HTT laser
Hundred-Terawatt Thompson laser creates radial rainbow effect
Plasma produced by Hundred Terawatt Thomson experiment creates radial rainbow
Hundred Terawatt Thomson experiment creates radial rainbow


The Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator (BELLA) Center focuses on the development and application of laser-plasma accelerators (LPAs). LPAs produce ultrahigh accelerating fields (1-100 GV/m) and may provide a compact technology for a variety of applications that include accelerators for high energy physics and drivers for high energy photon sources.

We routinely produce femtosecond electron bunches in our lab with energies ranging from 1 MeV to beyond 1 GeV using mm- to cm- scale plasma structures. Experimentally and theoretically, we study the interaction of intense laser pulses with gas, plasma and solid targets, with applications to advanced accelerators and novel radiation sources.

Experiments are centered around the state-of-the-art BELLA petawatt laser facility, which provides 40 J pulses of 40 fs duration at a repetition rate of 1 Hz, as well as 10-60 terawatt (0.5-2.5 joule) systems at 10 Hz, and offers shielded target areas and diagnostics. The BELLA Center is part of the Accelerator Technology and Applied Physics Division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

We invite you to explore this site or to contact us to learn more about our research. One place to start is with this page about the background and motivation of our work with laser-plasma accelerators.

These review articles give technical and general summaries of our work.