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Seggebrock, Thorben (2015): Conceptual design of a laser-plasma accelerator driven free-electron laser demonstration experiment. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Physics



Up to now, short-wavelength free-electron lasers (FEL) have been systems on the scale of hundreds of meters up to multiple kilometers. Due to the advancements in laser-plasma acceleration in the recent years, these accelerators have become a promising candidate for driving a fifth-generation synchrotron light source – a lab-scale free-electron laser. So far, demonstration experiments have been hindered by the broad energy spread typical for this type of accelerator. This thesis addresses the most important challenges of the conceptual design for a first lab-scale FEL demonstration experiment using analytical considerations as well as simulations. The broad energy spread reduces the FEL performance directly by weakening the microbunching and indirectly via chromatic emittance growth, caused by the focusing system. Both issues can be mitigated by decompressing the electron bunch in a magnetic chicane, resulting in a sorting by energies. This reduces the local energy spread as well as the local chromatic emittance growth and also lowers performance degradations caused by the short bunch length. Moreover, the energy dependent focus position leads to a focus motion within the bunch, which can be synchronized with the radiation pulse, maximizing the current density in the interaction region. This concept is termed chromatic focus matching. A comparison shows the advantages of the longitudinal decompression concept compared to the alternative approach of transverse dispersion. When using typical laser-plasma based electron bunches, coherent synchrotron radiation and space-charge contribute in equal measure to the emittance growth during decompression. It is shown that a chicane for this purpose must not be as weak and long as affordable to reduce coherent synchrotron radiation, but that an intermediate length is required. Furthermore, the interplay of the individual concepts and components is assessed in a start-to-end simulation, confirming the feasibility of the envisioned experiment. Moreover, the setup tolerances for a first demonstration experiment are determined, confirming the general practicability. The revealed challenges, besides the energy spread, especially concern the source stability and the precision of the beam optics setup.