We use local, national and international facilities for our research on laser-plasma interaction. In our experimental area at HHU, multi-100-Terawatt power pulses from the ARCTURUS laser system are used for laser-plasma acceleration. The laser pulses drive plasma waves with “bubble”-like structures in their wake, inside which accelerating and focusing electric fields of 100 Gigavolt-per-metre class are produced – 1000 times stronger than in conventional, km-long accelerators. In turn, this allows us to realize compact yet powerful particle accelerators and photon sources in our university-scale laboratories – and thus to democratize particle acceleration.
Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf has been a leading innovator in laser-plasma acceleration over the last two decades. Now, we pioneer new approaches such as the “plasma photocathode” and “hybrid plasma wakefield acceleration” in order to realize high-quality electron beams 100,000 times brighter than state-of-the-art.
Such ultrabright beams promise to revolutionize particle acceleration, and to enable hitherto impossible experiments and applications. For example, ultrabright electron beam brightness begets ultrabright photon pulses: our research shows that hard X-ray free-electron-lasers towards the cold beam limit and quantum free-electron-laser regime could be enabled by these beams. Such Attosecond-Angstrom class X-ray lasers, in turn, co-located and inherently synchronized with our high-power laser pulses and ultrabright electron beams, open up opportunities for next-generation fundamental science in high energy physics and quantum electro dynamics, and transformative applications across natural, material and life sciences.