High-intensity lasers as radiation sources

Galy, J., Hamilton, D.J. and Normand, C. (2009) High-intensity lasers as radiation sources. European Physical Journal: Special Topics, 175(1), pp. 147-152. (doi:10.1140/epjst/e2009-01133-4)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1140/epjst/e2009-01133-4

Abstract

In the last decade or so, an evolution in experimental relativistic laser-plasma physics has led to highly sophisticated lasers which are now capable of generating ultra-short pulses and can be focused to intensities in excess of 10<sup>21</sup> W cm<sup>-2</sup>. The laser interaction with solid or gas targets can generate collimated beams of highly energetic electrons, protons and ions. These high-intensity laser systems, therefore, turn out to be versatile and powerful sources of radiation and high-energy particles, without recourse to large-scale facilities such as nuclear reactors or particle accelerators. The potential to induce various kinds of nuclear reactions with laser-induced radiation fields has been demonstrated at several laboratories in recent years. The present paper lays out a comprehensive overview of nuclear reactions induced by high-intensity laser matter interactions. Mechanisms for electron, proton and ion acceleration, in addition to secondary bremsstrahlung, positron and neutron production, are addressed, with a focus on the types of nuclear reactions that are possible and potential applications. Discussion of the extrapolation of these processes and applications to the next generation of table-top lasers under construction is also presented.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hamilton, Dr David
Authors: Galy, J., Hamilton, D.J., and Normand, C.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:European Physical Journal: Special Topics
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1951-6355
ISSN (Online):1951-6401

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