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Plasma Physics (Physics/ECE/NE 922) Seminar
Progress on the generation and application of ion beams driven by high-intensity short-pulse lasers
Date: Monday, November 24th
Time: 12:00 pm
Place: 514 ERB
Speaker: Brian Albright, LANL
Abstract: The recent development of high-power, short-pulse laser systems has led to considerable interest in nonlinear, relativistic, laser-plasma-interaction physics. Electrons within laser beams whose intensities exceed 1018 W/cm2 for micron-wavelength light experience very dramatic acceleration, reaching speeds approaching c in a single laser cycle. This can lead to exotic plasma behavior, such as the state of relativistic induced transparency (RIT) where an intense laser beam penetrates into plasma whose density exceeds the classical critical density for the laser. RIT leads to volumetric (as opposed to skin-depth-layer) interaction of a laser beam with dense plasma, enabling highly efficient laser-plasma coupling and, consequently, the possibility of novel, compact, laser-based ion accelerators.<br>
Laser-based ion acceleration using RIT conditions has been demonstrated on multiple laser systems around the world and shown to produce some of the largest electric fields ever achieved—as high as several tens of TV/m, or over ten million times that of conventional accelerators such as the Large Hadron Collider. Such laser-based ion accelerators have the potential for a variety of applications, including fast-ignition inertial fusion, hadron therapy of tumors, active interrogation of shipping containers, and the creation and probing of warm dense matter. In this presentation, recent progress on the generation and application of these ion beams at the LANL Trident Laser Facility will be discussed, including the development of brilliant, laser-based neutron sources and the study of the properties of dense plasma media. Also, as 100 PW laser systems are anticipated in the coming decades, new physics frontiers enabled by these lasers, such as direct probing of quantum electrodynamics, will also be discussed.<br>
Work supported by the LANL Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program<br>
Host: CPTC
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