Intense attoscience: A new frontier in ultrafast research - Relativistic plasmas and high harmonic generation

Lead Research Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast
Department Name: Sch of Mathematics and Physics

Abstract

Probing ultrashort processes allows researchers to understand the dynamics of the microcosm. To investigate processes that occur on the fastest timescales, probes on the duration of attoseconds are required. Coherent laser-driven X-rays from gaseous media has fuelled the nascent field of attosecond research to date. However, these sources are limited in the photon energy and flux that can readily be achieved. With the advent of few laser cycle Terawatt/Petawatt (10^12-10^15W) systems however, a new age in ultrafast/atto-science is dawning, based on coherent X-rays generated from relativistically oscillating mirrors (ROM), which are created when an ultra-intense pulse is focused onto a solid target. The coherent X-rays that are generated from ROM have/are predicted to have excellent properties when compared with those generated in gases: high efficiency, shortest pulses and excellent focusability. In addition they are ideally suited to exploit lasers with high pulse energies - resulting in an XUV photon flux per pulse that is many orders of magnitude higher than to date. The principle aim of this proposal is to coherently harness the relativistic plasma medium and the demonstrate first applications of the resulting ultra-intense XUV pulses. Such advances will permit researchers access to a source that can combine the high photon flux available at large accelerator based XUV/X-ray sources with the attosecond duration of laser based XUV sources, opening completely new avenues of research.

Publications

10 25 50

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Dromey B (2016) Picosecond metrology of laser-driven proton bursts. in Nature communications

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Dromey B (2016) Strong coupling of light goes nuclear in Nature Photonics

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Dzelzainis T (2010) The TARANIS laser: A multi-Terawatt system for laser-plasma investigations in Laser and Particle Beams

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Lewis C (2012) The TARANIS laser : A multi-terawatt system for laser plasma physics in Journal of Physics: Conference Series

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McKeever K (2015) Fast-electron refluxing effects on anisotropic hard-x-ray emission from intense laser-plasma interactions. in Physical review. E, Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics

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Pirozhkov AS (2012) Soft-x-ray harmonic comb from relativistic electron spikes. in Physical review letters

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Sarri G (2013) Laser-driven generation of collimated ultra-relativistic positron beams in Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion

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Tanikawa T (2016) First observation of SASE radiation using the compact wide-spectral-range XUV spectrometer at FLASH2 in Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment

 
Description We have used our findings to increase our understanding relativistic laser plasma interactions and attosecond science. This is leading the development of next generation ultrafast sources for use in biomedical imaging and materials science. Ultrafast X-ray sources: The use of relativistic laser plasmas as a medium to support the generation of intense attosecond pulses forms a key part of our strategy to produce ultra intense laser plasma interactions. We have worked in several new regimes developing Coherent synchrotron emission and using relativistic laser produced electron bunches to upshift fundamental frequency laser pulses coherently into the extreme ultraviolet region of the spectrum. These results shed new light on the relativistic laser plasma interaction in general and indicate a clear path towards realising our goal to produce high energy density interactions on timescales of the atomic response. Ultimately these findings are driving new approaches to treatments of cancer through enhanced dose delivery and improved biomedical imaging techniques. This impact is being realised by reducing the size and cost of devices used to produce the radiation required for these treatments and studies.
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Education,Electronics,Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Security and Diplomacy
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description Air Force Basic Technology grant
Amount $150,000 (USD)
Organisation United States Air Force 
Sector Public
Country United States
Start 12/2013 
End 12/2017
 
Description CEA Saclay collaboration 
Organisation Saclay Nuclear Research Centre
Country France 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution WE performed and designed experiments on both the Gemini laser system at RAL and the ultrafast laser system at CEA Saclay
Collaborator Contribution Provide staff and expertise for experiments and dedicated access to a world class laser facility
Impact 3 papers ( 1 PRL, 1 Nature Communications, I New Journal of Phyiscs) Invitations to further experiments
Start Year 2010
 
Description Collaboration with Los Alamos 
Organisation Los Alamos National Laboratory
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Development of relativistic laser plasma knowledge and control
Collaborator Contribution Access to world class laser facilities
Impact 4 publications, two in Nature physics
Start Year 2010
 
Description Helmholtz institute Jena 
Organisation Friedrich Schiller University Jena (FSU)
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution WE attended and designed new experiments on the Jeti laser in Jena
Collaborator Contribution Access to world class laser facilities, plasma mirror setup and cutting edge diagnostic suite
Impact > 6 published articles (PRL, 3 invited talks at international conferences
Start Year 2010
 
Description Lund collabortation 
Organisation Lund University
Country Sweden 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Performed experiments and led the Scientific case on the Phelix laser at GSI Darmstadt
Collaborator Contribution PhD and Postdoc support on experiments
Impact Currently 5 publications in preparation 2 publications accepted for publictaion
Start Year 2013
 
Description Partnership with Class 5 lasers DESY hamburg 
Organisation Deutsches Electronen-Synchrotron (DESY)
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have aided in developing novel x-ray sources for deployment at free electron lasers
Collaborator Contribution They have provided access to expertise and engineering
Impact 3 publications accepted, two publications pending
Start Year 2012
 
Description Crete summer school 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Creating awareness to international PhD students about on going work in relativistic laser plasmas and attosecond sources

Experiments planned, international networking, invited talks
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2010,2011,2012,2013
 
Description Cross border schools initiative 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact School students interest in scientific discussions

Students planning to visit lab, cross border initiative
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2013,2014
 
Description Incredible power of light roadshow 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We hosted and provided full time staffing for the Incredible power of light roadshow from the STFC in the Ulster Museum during February and March 2015. Our active participation in this public out reach event saw over 10,000 members of the public and over 1000 pupils from regional (Northern Ireland) schools. We demonstrated the exhibits and informed attendees about how to pursue careers in science, technology engineering and mathematics with particular emphasis on laser and light based technologies. Since this was the first year it was difficult to directly measure impact. However our success saw my group invited to return to present the exhibits again the following year (2016).

Also the impact on regional schools was tangible with over 10 requests from individual school groups to provide year round displays in public forums with dedicated exhibitors such as those provided by my group.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Laser lab meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Talk lead to discussion about future directions for Laser-lab Europe

Invitations to perform experiments
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2013,2014
 
Description Late Lab 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact As part of the Northern Ireland Science festival we have presented live demonstrations at the Late Lab showcase event of how light can be used to change our world to members of the public. On both occasions over 1000 members of the public attended our stands and interacted with our demonstrators in a 1 -1 basis in an very different setting to what is normal of a scientific setting.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFN3JCAgj58
 
Description UCD Japan Ireland Initiative 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Generate new collaborative links in Japan, investigate novel funding streams

New collaborations forged, invitations to international labs for experiments
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2013,2014