A focused optical is been used to introduce an optical pulse, or electromagnetic wave, colinearly with the electron beam in a free electron laser or synchrotron thereby adding an axial field component that accelerates the electrons on the radial outside of the distribution of electrons in the electron beam. This invention consists of using the axial electrical component of a TEM.sub.10 mode Gaussian beam in vacuum to condition the electron beam and speed up the outer electrons in the beam. The conditioning beam should possess about the same diameter as the electron beam. The beam waist of the conditioning wave must be located around the entrance of the undulator longitudinally to have a net energy exchange between the electrons in the outer part of the distribution and the conditioning wave owing to the natural divergence of a Gaussian beam. By accelerating the outer electrons, the outer and core electrons are caused to stay in phase. This increases the fraction of the electron beam energy that is converted to light thereby improving the efficiency of conversion of energy to light and therefore boosting the power output of the free electron laser and synchrotron.