Scientists from Lebedev Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (FIAN) developed a method to accelerate the ions and electrons to high energies by ultrashort laser pulses, which can in some cases, to do without the giant electromagnetic launchers, the press service of the institute.
The group, under the direction of Valery Bychenkova since the early 2000s, explores the possibility of using a laser to produce accelerated beams of charged particles. Ultrashort laser pulse is directed to a solid target, "knocks out" of it ions and electrons are accelerated to near-light speeds.
The energy of the particles in this case could amount to tens of MeV per nucleon, which is comparable with the energy of a small accelerator. The resulting particle beams can be used as initiators of thermonuclear reactions in plants inertial fusion devices, as well as for short-lived isotopes for nuclear medicine and proton radiotherapy.
In papers published in different years in such journals as Physical Review E, Physics of Plasmas, Bochkarev and his colleagues described by their mathematical model of acceleration of ions and electrons in the interaction of femtosecond laser pulses with gas and ultrathin foil.
Experiments have shown that electrons can be accelerated to energies of 1.5 GeV at a distance of only about a centimeter. Beytskovsky electron linear accelerator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) accelerates electrons to an energy of about 1.1 GeV. However, its length is 160 meters.
According to scientists, advanced femtosecond laser systems, which are small enough that they can be mounted on a bench, can be used even for large-scale simulations of cosmic catastrophes, such as gamma-ray bursts.
"The use of high-power laser systems today is able to create plasma, the parameters of which are close to the actual parameters of the gamma-ray bursts. The availability of such systems will allow to solve more complex problems, such as birth uncover the mechanisms of cosmic rays in the universe "- said Sergey Bochkarev, one of the sponsors of Bychenkova.