Nonlinear Thomson scattering: A tutorial

Lau, Y. Y.; He, Fei; Umstadter, Donald P.; Kowalczyk, Richard
May 2003
Physics of Plasmas;May2003, Vol. 10 Issue 5, p2155
Academic Journal
Recent advances in table-top, ultrahigh intensity lasers have led to significant renewed interest in the classic problem of Thomson scattering. An important current application of these scattering processes is the generation of ultrashort-pulse-duration x rays. In this tutorial, the classical theory of nonlinear Thomson scattering of an electron in an intense laser field is presented. It is found that the orbit, and therefore its nonlinear scattering spectra, depends on the amplitude and on the phase at which the electron sees the laser electric field. Novel, simple asymptotic expansions are obtained for the spectrum of radiation that is backscattered from a laser by a counter-propagating (or co-propagating) electron. The solutions are presented in such a way that they explicitly show -- at least in the single particle regime -- the relative merit of using an intense laser and of an energetic electron beam in x-ray production. The close analogy with free electron laser/synchrotron source is indicated.


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