Dr. Ceri Brenner | Central Laser Facility, STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK
The most powerful lasers in the world can be used to drive super-strength, micro-sized plasma accelerators that generate bright, highly-energetic pulsed beams of x-rays, electrons, ions and neutrons. In partnership with industry the community is developing this next generation technology for applications such as targeted cancer therapy, as ignitor beams for fusion energy concepts, for high resolution 3D x-ray imaging of objects such as biological samples and carbon-fibre composite materials right up to 3D printed steel aerospace components and jet engine parts, and neutron inspection for mapping the contents of nuclear waste barrels. With the recent delivery of 10 Hz pulse rate lasers at petawatt (1015 W) power, using these dream beams for societal impact and industrial solutions is just around the corner.
In this talk I will introduce some of the key physics behind the concept of laser-based particle acceleration in intense laser-matter interactions, and subsequent secondary source generation, and also why the technique of chirped-pulse amplification – now a Nobel prize winning discovery – is so vital to this field. Applications of this technology will also be covered, demonstrating the multi-disciplinary impact of this exciting field of research and innovation.