We study the time structure, the frequency composition, and the shot to shot fluctuations of the radiation emitted by a free-electron laser starting from shot noise in the electron beam longitudinal distribution, taking into account slippage and finite bunch length effects. We find a very different behavior when the bunch length, scrlb is much longer thatn the cooperation length, scrlc, or of the order of a few scrlc. The field evolution is dominated by slippage effects in both cases, and shows the presence of superradiant spikes.
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