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The Advanced WAKefield Experiment (AWAKE) makes use of the large amount of energy stored in relativistic proton bunches from the SPS to accelerate electron bunches to high energies in a single stage.
Since the proton bunch is long, compared to the plasma electron wavelength, the AWAKE scheme relies on the seeded self-modulation of the entire proton bunch to reach larger accelerating gradient.
This important milestone was achieved during the 2021 proton run by injecting a short electron bunch ahead of the proton bunch, demonstrating for the first time the electron bunch seeding of proton bunch self-modulation.
This result allows to control and study in deeper detail the self-modulation instability in plasma.
In this talk, we will summarize the main achievements of the AWAKE experiment, present the results obtained during the 2021 experimental campaign and introduce the physics program of the coming years.