A technique of laser-pulse shaping was developed for low-emittance electron-beam generation in a photocathode radio-frequency (rf) gun. The emittance growth due to space charge and rf effects in the rf gun was experimentally investigated with square and gaussian temporal pulse shapes. It was found that the square pulse shaping was a useful tool for both the reduction of nonlinear space-charge force and the correction of linear space charge. The normalized transverse rms emittance at 1 nC was obtained to be 1.20 πmm-mrad for the square pulse shape with pulse length of 9 ps full width at half maximum. The emittance was measured as a function of the electron bunch charge and the laser-pulse length.
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