High gradients of energy gain and high energy efficiency are necessary parameters for compact, cost-efficient and high-energy particle colliders. Plasma Wakefield Accelerators (PWFA) offer both, making them attractive candidates for next-generation colliders. In these devices, a charge-density plasma wave is excited by an ultra-relativistic bunch of charged particles (the drive bunch). The energy in the wave can be extracted by a second bunch (the trailing bunch), as this bunch propagates in the wake of the drive bunch. While a trailing electron bunch was accelerated in a plasma with more than a gigaelectronvolt of energy gain, accelerating a trailing positron bunch in a plasma is much more challenging as the plasma response can be asymmetric for positrons and electrons. We report the demonstration of the energy gain by a distinct trailing positron bunch in a plasma wakefield accelerator, spanning nonlinear to quasi-linear regimes, and unveil the beam loading process underlying the accelerator energy efficiency. A positron bunch is used to drive the plasma wake in the experiment, though the quasi-linear wake structure could as easily be formed by an electron bunch or a laser driver. The results thus mark the first acceleration of a distinct positron bunch in plasma-based particle accelerators.
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Doche, A; Beekman, C; Corde, S; Allen, J M; Clarke, C I; Frederico, J; Gessner, S J; Green, S Z; Hogan, M J; O'Shea, B; Yakimenko, V; An, W; Clayton, C E; Joshi, C; Marsh, K A; Mori, W B; Vafaei-Najafabadi, N; Litos, M D; Adli, E; Lindstrøm, C A; and Lu, W, "Acceleration of a trailing positron bunch in a plasma wakefield accelerator." (2017). Physics Faculty Contributions. 109.