Radiative polarization of electrons in a strong laser wave

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    Abstract

    We reanalyze the problem of radiative polarization of electrons brought into collision with a circularly polarized strong plane wave. We present an independent analytical verification of formulas for the cross section given by Ivanov. By choosing the exact electron's helicity as the spin quantum number we show that the self-polarization effect exists only for the moderately relativistic electrons with energy γ=E/mc210 and only for a non-head-on collision geometry. In these conditions polarization degree may achieve values up to 65%, but the effective polarization time is found to be larger than 1 s even for a high-power optical or infrared laser with intensity parameter ξ=|E|mc2/E cω∼0.1 (E c=m2c3/e). This makes such a polarization practically unrealizable. We also compare these results with the ones of some papers where the high degree of polarization was predicted for ultrarelativistic case. We argue that this apparent contradiction arises due to the different choice of the spin quantum numbers. In particular, the quantum numbers that provide the high degree of polarization represent neither helicity nor transverse polarization, which makes the use of them inconvenient in practice.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number062116
    JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
    Volume84
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2011

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics

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