Novel Techniques for control and optimisation of laser driven ion beams

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

Abstract

Key to the interest in a laser based particle accelerator lies in its cost effective and compactness. However, the proton beams accelerated by one of the highly promising laser based acceleration mechanisms, the so called Target Normal Sheath Acceleration (TNSA), suffers of shortcomings such as a broad energy spectrum and large beam divergence. The project aims to unlock the full potential of a number of novel techniques in order to control and improve upon the proton beam parameters, and possibly to deliver a beam of accelerator standard for widespread application in science, industry and healthcare. The techniques are based on either simple modifications of target shape and geometry, or by ingeniously harnessing extremely high electrostatic and magnetic fields produced by the interaction of intense lasers. A specific interest is that, by utilising these techniques, lasers can be transported close to the application area circumventing delivery beam-lines and radiation shielding costs associated with a conventional machine.

A collimated dense bunch of energetic ions is highly attractive in view of the development of an appealing neutron source. Given the fact that the ions are produced by a compact laser-based machine, the neutron souce will offer opportunities for industrial, technological and healthcare applications, such as diagnosis of Li-ion battery and fuel cells, semiconductor doping and cancer therapy centre based on novel Boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) technique. Over the two year duration of the grant, a rigorous work plan will be implemented. Whereas the in-house laser facility (TARANIS) at the host university will facilitate a systematic investigation of several aspects of the schemes, the schemes will be fielded at large-scale, laser facilities with significantly higher power (such as the Vulcan and GEMINI Petawatt facilities at RAL-STFC, UK) with the aim to demonstrate the expected improved performance.

Planned Impact

Although the full impact of this work will be realised on timescales longer than the grant duration, there will be output and consequence of its work which will have impact and relevance at several levels and over different timescales.

The work on enabling control and optimisation of the laser driven proton beams will provide a cost-effective and compact alternative to conventional accelerators, which will lay a pathway towards a major societal impact by informing a strategic roadmap towards next generation of affordable cancer treatment facilities. Although the long term healthcare application will clearly have huge investment leverage, other sectors such as industry (eg. lithography, implantation), science (eg. fusion research) and security (eg. Remote threat detection using secondary radiation sources, eg. neutrons) will be highly benefited by the development of a laser based ion source. A medium term impact of the work in Science would be towards warm dense matter studies, which are highly relevant for fusion research - the quest to overcome present energy challenges.

Creating new avenues of research implies creating new opportunities for training 'fresh blood' and recruiting scientists, creating new laboratory facilities. This can be seen as a critical pathway to social and economic impact as it lays the basis of continuous supply of well-trained and qualified personnel with a range of options for career in academia, R&D, industry and other sectors, such as finance. At national level, efficient use of the laboratory facilities at the host organisation as well as in the STFC laser facilities will be made by providing well trained personnel during this project. The proposed research will complement the activities of the plasma physics group of the host university and will facilitate establishing an increasingly more visible 'centre of excellence' status. This can be seen as a direct impact on the university which will enhance further the recruitment prospects, particularly with respect to attracting Ph.D. students from outside Northern Ireland and overseas.

Publications

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Zhai S (2019) Proton array focused by a laser-irradiated mesh in Applied Physics Letters

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Ahmed H (2017) Proton probing of laser-driven EM pulses travelling in helical coils in High Power Laser Science and Engineering

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Alejo A. (2015) Recent advances in laser-driven neutron sources in NUOVO CIMENTO C-COLLOQUIA AND COMMUNICATIONS IN PHYSICS

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Romano F (2016) The ELIMED transport and dosimetry beamline for laser-driven ion beams in Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment

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Tubman E (2017) Time evolution and asymmetry of a laser produced blast wave in Physics of Plasmas

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Ter-Avetisyan S (2018) Ultrashort PW laser pulse interaction with target and ion acceleration in Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment

 
Description All-optical approaches to particle acceleration are promising for the realisation of compact and cost-effective accelerators. The primary aim of the project was to develop techniques for control and optimisation of the non-ideal parameters, such as large divergence and broad energy spectrum of the ion beams accelerated by the Target Normal Sheath acceleration (TNSA) mechanism. We introduced a novel concept of miniature accelerating module (S. Kar et. al., Guided post-acceleration of laser-driven ions by a miniature modular structure, Nature Communication, 7, 10792, 2016), which, by employing laser-excited electromagnetic pulses directed along a helical path, enables guided post-acceleration of laser-driven ions at a rate beyond what can be sustained by conventional accelerator technologies.

The scheme was successfully fielded in several experiments during the term of the project using fs and ps laser systems. While narrow energy bandwidth pencil beams of tens of MeV (upto 45 MeV) protons was obtained using Petawatt lasers, there is significant scope for optimization and scaling up by operating in a multi-stage configuration as well as employing multi-petawatt laser systems already available at several facilities across the globe.
Exploitation Route The helical coil device is effectively a separate module with respect to the primary ion acceleration process producing the seed beam which enters the coil. Therefore one can envisage a multistage implementation of the process, employing sequential, multiple coils irradiated by separate, appropriately timed laser pulses-a scheme with high promise for the development of a compact linear particle accelerator.

There is another facet of the outcome from the project. The helical coil module harness the ultra-short, high amplitude electromagnetic (EM) pulse produced by intense laser interaction with thin foils. The fact that the EM pulses can travel along thin wires without significant dissipation, such intense pulses can in principle be used for mobile and satellite communication, radar application and bio-electrics by creating suitable sub-THz transponders.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Energy,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Security and Diplomacy

 
Description The predicted strategic advantages of a laser based technology over conventional methods may be realised on a long (> 10 years) time scale, and the proposed research is perhaps at a too early stage of development to provide an accurate assessment of its effective impact in any application areas. However, the helical coil technology developed during this grant period lays a pathway towards a major societal impact by informing a strategic roadmap towards next generation of affordable cancer treatment centres employing high power lasers. In addition to its academic dissemination in numerous conferences and by peer-reviewed publications, a patent on the technology has been applied (published, under review) in order to maximize its societal and economic impact. In terms of short term impact activities, the project helped in training several PhD students (including one PhD student directly associated with the project work) and recruiting one PDRA for two years. The developed technique attracted interests from several research groups across the globe, including the major European laser infrastructure ELI. A MoU has been developed with the ELI-NP group at Romania to collaborate in their facility development, in particular, to set up a dedicated proton beamline for material and biological testing.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description Proof of concept
Amount £104,715 (GBP)
Funding ID POC-329 
Organisation Invest Northern Ireland 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2013 
End 02/2015
 
Description Support for lectureship post from STFC
Amount £40,000 (GBP)
Organisation Rutherford Appleton Laboratory 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2017 
End 12/2018
 
Description CELIA Bordaeux 
Organisation University of Bordeaux
Department Center for Intense Lasers and Applications
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution sharing expertise
Collaborator Contribution sharing expertise
Impact H. Hamad et. al., Scientific Reports, 7, 10891 (2017)
Start Year 2016
 
Description CLF 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution my contribution towards the collaboration includes sharing ideas and expertise, inviting to participate in experiments and sharing data.
Collaborator Contribution Collaboration with the plasma physics group of Central laser facility, STFC provided significant support from both experimental and theoretical point of view. Where Prof. Peter Norreys, Prof. Dave Neely, Dr. Rob Clarke and Dr. C. Brenner collaborated in several experiments, Dr. Alex Robinson carried out simulations for the analysis of the data obtained in the experiments.
Impact 1- Physical Review Letters, 109, 185006 (2012) 2- Plasma Phys. Control. Fusion 55 124030 (2013) 3- Review of Scientific Instruments, 85, 033304 (2014) 4- Review of Scientific Instruments, 85, 093303 (2014) 5- Journal of X-Ray science and Technology, 23, 791 (2015) 6- Review of Scientific Instruments, 86, 123302 (2015) 7- Plasma Phys. Control. Fusion 58 014039 (2015)
Start Year 2012
 
Description Dusseldorf 
Organisation Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution my contribution towards the collaboration includes sharing ideas and expertise, sharing experimental data, inviting to participate in experiments
Collaborator Contribution We have got access to their recently build high power laser facility in order to carry out experiments on ion acceleration and related avenues, directly relevant to the projects.
Impact Physical Review Letters, 109, 185006 (2012) Plasma physics and controlled fusion, 55, 124030 (2013) Review of Scientific Instruments, 85, 033304 (2014)
 
Description ELI Beamlines 
Organisation ELI Beamlines
Country Czech Republic 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution sharing ideas and expertise, inviting to participate in experiments and sharing data.
Collaborator Contribution collaborated in experiments by sharing expertise.
Impact n/a
Start Year 2014
 
Description ELI-NP 
Organisation Extreme Light Infrastructure - Nuclear Physics (ELI-NP)
Country Romania 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Sharing ideas and expertise, signed an MoU with the ELI-NP team to contribute in developing their facility
Collaborator Contribution Allowing access to their laser facility and infrastructure.
Impact F. Negoita et. al., Romanian Reports in Physics, 68, S37 (2016); T. Asavei et. al., Romanian Reports in Physics, 68, S275 (2016);
Start Year 2013
 
Description GIST-Korea 
Organisation Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology
Department Institute for Physical Research Armenian Academy of Science
Country Korea, Republic of 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Sharing expertise and experimental facilities
Collaborator Contribution Sharing expertise and experimental facilities
Impact n/a
Start Year 2014
 
Description IPPLM warsaw 
Organisation Institute of Plasma Physics and Laser Microfusion, Warsaw, Poland
Country Poland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution sharing expertise
Collaborator Contribution sharing expertise
Impact T. Pisarczyk et.al., Phys. Plasmas, 24, 102711 (2017)
Start Year 2016
 
Description LULI 
Organisation Ecole Polytechnique
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution my contribution towards the collaboration includes sharing ideas and expertise, inviting to participate in experiments and sharing data.
Collaborator Contribution Collaboration with the plasma physics group of LABORATOIRE pour L'UTILISATION des LASERS INTENSE (LULI) at Ecole Polytechnique,Paris - FR provided significant experimental support; where Dr. Lorenzo Romagnani and Dr. Julien Fuchs are the most frequent collaborators. the collaboration includes fields of research such as Plasma Physics: laser driven-ion acceleration, shockwaves; and application to biology.
Impact N/A
Start Year 2010
 
Title BEAM FOCUSING AND ACCELERATING SYSTEM 
Description A system for focusing and accelerating a beam of electrically charged particles, for example protons. The system comprises: a beam generator; a charge pulse generator;and a focusing and accelerating device comprising a body with a core. The body defines a charge path extending along the body and beam generator directs a beam of electrically charged particles through the core. The charge pulse generator simultaneously delivers charge pulses to the charge path. The charge path may be helical in shape. Movement of the charge pulse along the path creates an electric field that simultaneously accelerates and focuses the beam. 
IP Reference WO2015107128 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2015
Licensed No
Impact not yet
 
Description Discussion on future implementation of coil targetry in ELI-NP beam line 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dissemination of scientific results, raised awareness of the research activities at QUB on laser driven ions using helical coil targets
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Highlight talk: S. Kar, A novel ultra-high gradient travelling wave ion accelerator driven by intense lasers, 2nd European Advanced Accelerator Concepts Workshop, La Biodola, Isola d'Elba (Italy), 13-19 September 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dissemination to peers of scientific developments relating to A-SAIL Project
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Lecture in RAL training weeks 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Presented a review on recent development in high power laser interaction to the new PhD students to inform and motivate about our field of research.

The PhD students were keen to know more about the research and I shared more information after the talk and later via email.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2013,2014,2015
URL http://www.stfc.ac.uk/CLF/default.aspx
 
Description Lecture: High power laser driven ions and applications, Dr S Kar, CLF training weeks, 16-27 March 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Dissemination of scientific progress of A-SAIL Project
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description NI Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact During NI science festival, the Center for plasma physics of Queen's University organized laser roadshow exhibition at Ulster museum, Belfast, in which we have demonstrated to general public various aspects of laser mater interactions - starting from laser pointers to high intensity laser plasma interactions and current research undertaken by QUB team. All staffs and students contributed to this event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
 
Description Oral Presentation at 44th EPS Conference on Plasma Physics 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Oral Presentation by Dr Hamad Ahmed on "Guided post acceleration of high-energy protons using helical coil targets driven by sub-petawatt lasers" (Ahmed, S. Kar, P. Hadjisolomou, S. Brauckmann, D. Doria, A.Alejo, T. Hodge, R. Prasad, M. Cerchez, O. Willi and M. Borghesi) at the 44th EPS Conference on Plasma Physics held in Belfast on 26-30 June 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.eps.org/m/event_details.asp?id=866254
 
Description Oral Presentation at International Conference on Extreme Light 2017 by Dr Hamad Ahmed 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Oral Presentation by Dr Hamad Ahmed on "Collimated beams of high-energy protons from helical coil targets driven by Petawatt-class lasers" (H. Ahmed, P. Hadjisolomou, M. Borghesi, D. Doria, A. Alejo, S. Brauckmann, T. Hodge, R. Prasad, M. Cherchez, O. Willi, S. Kar) at the International Conference on Extreme Light 2017 held in Szeged, Hungary on 6-9 November 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.eli-alps.hu/indico/event/12/program
 
Description Oral Presentation, Hamad Ahmed, 7th Conference of the International Committee on Ultrahigh Intensity Lasers, Montebello, Canada, Sept 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Oral presentation by Hamad Ahmed on Guided post-acceleration of laser accelerated protons by helical coil target at 7th Conference of the International Committee on Ultrahigh Intensity Lasers, Montebello, Canada, Sept 2016
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Oral presentation: H Ahmed et al., Simultaneous focussing and post-acceleration of laser accelerated proton beams, SPIE 2015 International Symposium on Optics + Optoelectronics 2015, Prague (Cz), 13-16 April 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dissemination to peers of scientific developments relating to A-SAIL Project
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Oral presentation: S. Kar et al., Simultaneous focussing, energy selection and post-acceleration of laser-driven proton beam, International Conference on Ultrahigh Intensity Lasers 2014, GOA , India, 12-17 Oct 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dissemination to peers of scientific developments relating to A-SAIL Project
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Poster presentation: S. Kar et al., Generation of ultra-short, kiloampere current pulses following intense laser interaction, Photonics Ireland 2015, Cork, Ireland , 2-4 September 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation of research findings to wider audience
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description STFC Incredible Power of Light Roadshow 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Members of the A-SAIL project took part to the STFC Power of Light Roadshow in Belfast and Glasgow, which attracted thousands of visitors . Display material on A-SAIL was used , which matched naturally the content of the roadshow.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.clf.stfc.ac.uk/CLF/45021.aspx
 
Description Seminar at CELIA, Bordeaux, France 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Dissemination of scientific results, raised awareness of the research activities at QUB on laser driven ions and neutrons
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Seminar at ELI Beamlines, Prague 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dissemination of scientific results, raised awareness of the research activities at QUB on laser driven ions and neutrons
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Seminar at ELI-NP, Bucharest, Romania 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dissemination of scientific results, raised awareness of the research activities at QUB on laser driven ions using helical coil targets
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Seminar at Peking University, China 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Dissemination of scientific results, raised awareness of the research activities at QUB on laser driven ions and neutrons
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Seminar at Shanghai Jiao Tung University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Dissemination of scientific results, raised awareness of the research activities at QUB on laser driven ions and neutrons
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Seminar at TIFR Hyderabad, India 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Dissemination of scientific results, raised awareness of the research activities at QUB on laser driven ions and neutrons
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Ultrafast propagation of a charge pulse generated during intense laser solid interaction, talk by H. Ahmed et al., ECLIM Paris 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Awareness of novel results and technology among conference attendees

Possibility of collaborative work on international facilities (e.g. APRI-JIST, Korea)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.eclim2014.eu/