High-power terahertz emission from a plasma penetrated by counterstreaming different-size electron beams

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Abstract

It is found that multi-cycle pulses of high-power coherent terahertz radiation can be efficiently generated in a plasma by counterstreaming long-pulse electron beams driving potential plasma waves via the two-stream instability. Instead of the well-known three-wave interaction processes between oblique beam-driven modes, we propose to generate electromagnetic radiation near the doubled plasma frequency due to the novel and much more efficient mechanism based on the head-on collision of longitudinal plasma waves with mismatching potential profiles. It is shown that this radiation mechanism can be implemented experimentally either by the collision of low-density electron beams with different transverse sizes or by the counter injection of denser equal-size beams unstable against filamentation perturbations. Particle-in-cell simulations for kiloampere electron beams capable of focusing into millimeter-scale sizes demonstrate the possibility to reach the high efficiency of beams-to-THz power conversion (3%-7%), which opens the path to gigawatt-class THz sources with a narrow spectral line.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113110
Number of pages6
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Volume25
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018

Keywords

  • GENERATION
  • RADIATION

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