Développement d’un accélérateur laser-plasma à haut taux de répétition pour des applications à la diffraction ultra-rapide d’électrons

Abstract : Electronic microscopy and electron diffraction allowed the understanding of the organization of atoms in matter. Using a temporally short source, one can measure atomic displacements or modifications of the electronic distribution in matter. To date, the best temporal resolution for time resolved diffraction experiments is of the order of a hundred femtoseconds (fs). Laser-plasma accelerators are good candidates to reach the femtosecond temporal resolution in electron diffraction experiments. Moreover, these accelerators can operate at a high repetition rate, allowing the accumulation of a large amount of data.In this thesis, a laser-plasma accelerator operating at the kHz repetition rate was developed and built. This source generate electron bunches at 100 keV from 3 mJ and 25 fs laser pulses. The physics of the acceleration has been studied, and the effect of the laser wavefront on the electron transverse distribution has been demonstrated.The first electron diffraction experiments with such a source have been realized. An experiment, which was a proof of concept, showed that the quality of the source permits to record nice diffraction patterns on gold and silicium foils. In a second experiment, the structural dynamics of a silicium sample has been studied with a temporal resolution of the order of a few picoseconds.The electron bunches must be accelerated to relativistic energies, at a few MeV, to reach a sub-10 fs temporal resolution. A numerical study showed that ultra-short electron bunches can be accelerated using 5 fs and 5 mJ laser pulses. A temporal resolution of the order of the femtosecond could be reached using such bunches for electron diffraction experiments. Finally, an experiment of the ionization-induced compression of the laser pulses has been realized. The pulse duration was shorten by a factor of 2, and the homogeneity of the process has been studied experimentally and numerically.
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Benoit Beaurepaire. Développement d’un accélérateur laser-plasma à haut taux de répétition pour des applications à la diffraction ultra-rapide d’électrons. Physique des plasmas [physics.plasm-ph]. Université Paris-Saclay, 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016SACLX013⟩. ⟨tel-01493678⟩

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