Betatron x-ray sources from laser-plasma accelerators reproduce the principle of a synchrotron at the millimeter scale. They combine compactness, femtosecond pulse duration, broadband spectrum, and micron source size. However, when produced with terawatt class femtosecond lasers, their energy and flux are not sufficient to compete with synchrotron sources, thus limiting their dissemination and its possible applications. Here we present a simple method to enhance the energy and the flux of betatron sources without increasing the laser energy. The orbits of the relativistic electrons emitting the radiation were controlled using density tailored plasmas so that the energetic efficiency of the betatron source is increased by more than one order of magnitude. The output of a compact x-ray source based on laser-generated plasma can be boosted by tailoring the spatial structure of the plasma. Femtosecond x-ray sources have become invaluable tools to reveal ultrafast atomic and molecular dynamics. While most of the experiments are performed with x-ray free-electron lasers, research on alternative sources is crucial to democratize the use of femtosecond x-ray radiation.
Martone 1 ,2 , C. Guidorzi 1 , R. Margutti 3 , L.
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