Articles about Optics and Photonics, Lasers, Fiber Bragg gratings and FBG sensors

Laser systems allow increasing proton-beam energies

on June 7, 2019

green-1757807_640Nowadays laser systems are highly requested in the physical application for carrying out experiments and learning properties of different materials. Thus, now it is possible to double the energy of proton laser beams emitted by laser-driven particle accelerators without any boost in laser system intensity.

A researcher from Sweden put forward a suggestion of computer simulations. The operation of this laser technology is based on splitting the laser beam into two parts and in case of success, it can open new possibilities, consequently, finding a wide range of novel laser applications. Also, it is planned to develop an accelerator of compact size that could allow making cancer treatment more accessible.

The fact is that traditional laser system accelerators employ externally-applied electric and magnetic fields to advance charged particles such as protons, but it can also be realized by firing ultra-intense laser beam pulses produced by a fiber laser at targets such as thin, metallic foils.

Thus, the light emitted by a laser beam enables to turn away negatively-charged electrons in the target, while the much heavier positively-charged atomic nuclei are not affected. Herewith, such charge separation in laser systems produces a big local electric field in the wake of the pulse that can be applied to make charged particles faster.

It should be noted that a highly important advantage of the laser system acceleration is that such laser technology can be achieved in using compact table-top tools. Therefore, this is not the same as in traditional accelerators, which have the size of a house or even larger to produce comparable particle energies.

Nevertheless, there are still some obstacles in developing practical fiber laser systems that produce enough particles at the energies necessary for medical and other fields of laser applications because at the present time the method of boosting the intensity of the laser beam pulse does not cause a corresponding boost in particle energy.

The researcher confirms that the mentioned energy challenge can be resolved by dividing the laser beam pulse into two equal-energy pulses, which later hit the target simultaneously at different, accurately calculated angles of incidence. This laser technology has been successfully demonstrated through simulation technique, and it is possible to increase the peak electric field when the laser beam pulses collide.

Finally, the experiment demonstrates that possibly the laser system technique could double the energy of the proton laser beam and create five times as many protons — all with far more flexible control parameters than it was necessary before. The laser technology could cause the creation of compact accelerators for a wide range of technologies, containing materials analysis, and testing spacecraft for their resilience against cosmic radiation.

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editorLaser systems allow increasing proton-beam energies

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