Berkeley Lab

Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator

Driving advancement in laser-plasma accelerators and their enabling technologies

The laser-plasma accelerator (LPA) is a potentially revolutionary concept, now in its exciting early days, for making accelerators smaller and more affordable. The BELLA Center uses one of the world’s most powerful lasers in its campaign toward the next landmark in LPA energy — 10 GeV — and is developing numerous spinoff applications. To learn more, click on one of the research topics below; they take you to the BELLA website.

High Energy Physics

LPA_collider_concept_140pxA major long-term focus of the BELLA Center is to explore and develop LPAs for high energy physics applications. One primary goal on that path is to demonstrate the production of electron beams at the 10 GeV level using the BELLA laser and a meter-scale plasma; another is to demonstrate the coupling of two LPA stages, each powered by separate laser pulses. Research also includes the experimental, theoretical, and numerical study of the basic physics of LPAs. More >

Nuclear Nonproliferation, Security and Science

Thomson_concept BELLA Center researchers are developing LPAs to enable compact, collimated, monoenergetic photon sources for special nuclear material (SNM) detection, as well as for nuclear physics studies. BELLA is pursuing experimental and theoretical work toward LPAs that will greatly reduce photon source size and improve performance compared to present photon sources. More >

Compact Future Light Sources

LPA-FELIn addition to the advantage of large accelerating gradients, LPAs intrinsically produce ultra-short (femtosecond) electron bunches, providing unique opportunities for radiation sources. The ultra-high accelerating gradients motivate active research on LPAs as compact sources of energetic beams for many applications. More >

Plasma Sources

plasmasource_500pxIn an LPA, an intense laser pulse propagating through a plasma excites a plasma wave. The plasma both supports high electric fields that accelerate particles and guides the intense laser pulse, allowing acceleration over long distances. BELLA researchers have a history of innovation in this field. More >

Computer Modeling

modelling_500pxBELLA Center computer modeling covers a wide range of topics needed to understand and design laser-plasma accelerators (LPA). The center uses and supports a comprehensive set of simulation tools that range from from simplified models providing fast turnaround to detailed first-principles multiphysics codes for high fidelity. More >