Special Issue "Laser-driven Quantum Beams"

A special issue of Quantum Beam Science (ISSN 2412-382X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 October 2017)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Paul Bolton

Faculty of Physics, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Am Coulombwall 1, 85748 Garching b. München, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Interests: lasers (high power), lasers in particle acceleration and applications, ultrafast, high field laser-plasma phenomena, plasma photonics, spectroscopy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Quantum Beam Science is pleased to announce a special issue that will highlight Laser-driven Quantum Beams (LDQB) and will feature research and development of laser-driven energetic particle and photon beams. The unique yield of energetic ions, electrons, neutrons, X-rays and gamma-rays driven by intense lasers is well-established and is a promising for candidate accelerator sources. The evolution of high power laser systems and the intense ultra-fast laser–plasma interactions they enable in specialized targets has also been well-documented during the last two decades or more. However, to realize meaningful applications of these laser-driven sources, the development of well-directed energetic beams that are suitably monitored, controllable, stable and reproducible is essential.  An application will typically require commensurate research and development of an integrated laser-driven accelerator system that can deliver a stable, reproducible beam of particles or photons of adequate accelerator quality. So, the laser-driven accelerator system remains the major challenge and one closely coupled with controlled high quality beamline development. Augmenting the current vast published literature on emergent laser-driven secondary sources from targets, the Laser-driven Quantum Beams special issue will (i) present review of laser-driven accelerator component status and (ii) highlight the progress being made with laser-driven beamline development.

For electrons, laser acceleration has been demonstrated in intense laser–plasma interactions with gas targets and also directly by the laser field itself at much lower intensity (dielectric laser acceleration). While the latter approach has demonstrated record high acceleration gradients at kHz  rep-rates with sub-GW peak powers, the former approach typically requires peak powers that are higher by several orders of magnitude (~ tens of TW) and therefore significantly lower repetition rates, yielding ultrashort bunches of high peak current with kinetic energies at the GeV level. Further, these results afford exploration of laser-driven electron beam-based energetic photon sources (i.e. X-rays and gamma-rays), which can therefore constitute electron-mediated optical upconversion.

Proton acceleration in laser–plasma interactions has generated kinetic energies up to tens of MeV (reaching almost 100 MeV) with high at-source peak currents attributed to the significant bunch charge and ultrashort bunch durations. Proton and other ion acceleration to tens of MeV per nucleon energies can require hundreds of TW to PW peak power levels, for which the rep-rate rate is typically quite low (single shot to less than a few Hz). In this ion energy regime, neutron generation (considered as a tertiary source in contrast to secondary electron and ion sources from laser–plasmas) can also occur by the impact of laser-accelerated proton and/or deuteron bunches with a downstream second target.  The unique at-source features of emergent particle bunches are well-documented, as is the broad range of targetry options.

Review of essential components of the integrated laser-driven accelerator system with an added emphasis on basic beamline development is the focus of this special issue. It will include the following subject matter for which we welcome contributions:

  • Reviews
    • status of progress toward high power rep-rated lasers
    • current laser-acceleration capability for:
      • protons and other ions 
      • electrons (by laser-plasma and direct acceleration by laser field)
      • neutrons energetic photons (generation mechanisms etc…)

 (emphasis on unique particle yields as candidate accelerator sources) 

  • targetry developments—types, metrology, yields, rep-rated capability
  • unique beamline optics (components) —modeling and experimental tests (such as laser-induced plasma optics components, high field solenoid magnets, energy filters)
  • post-acceleration schemes
  • unique or innovative beamline architecture or design—modeling and experimental tests
  • novel beamline instrumentation for diagnostics and control (such as fast scintillation, electron spectrometry, dosimetry)
  • emerging and potential application examples for the study of matter (applied materials, nuclear, medical) and application categories for energetic particles and photons; preliminary experiments and theoretical projections;
  • future prospects for integrated laser-driven particle accelerator systems.

This laser-driven quantum beam special issue will provide a valuable reference for the current state-of-the-art in laser-driven accelerator components and, as such, provide an augmentative update on global progress toward realizing integrated laser-driven accelerator systems that can deliver useful, controlled quantum beams.

Prof. Dr. Paul Bolton
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Quantum Beam Science is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) is waived for well-prepared manuscripts submitted to this issue. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Novel Single-Shot Diagnostics for Electrons from Laser-Plasma Interaction at SPARC_LAB

Alessandro Curcio, Massimo Ferrario, Mario Galletti, Riccardo Pompili, Elad Schleifer,
Vladimir Shpakov and Arie Zigler

Nowadays plasma wakefield acceleration is the most promising acceleration technique. Indeed, the high electric fields available in plasma structures (>100 GV/m) allow to accelerate electrons at GeV energy scale in few centimeters. Nevertheless, this approach still suffers of shot-to-shot instabilities, mostly related to experimental parameters fluctuations (i.e. laser intensity, plasma density). Therefore, single shot diagnostics are crucial in order to properly understand the acceleration mechanism. At SPARC_LAB Test Facility we are developing two diagnostics tools to investigate properties of electrons coming from high intensity laser - matter interaction. In detail, one relies on Electro Optical Sampling (EOS) and it allowed us to measure for the first time the temporal profile of the electric field carried by fast electrons generated by a high intensity laser hitting a solid target. On the other hand, by exploiting the properties of the Optical Transition Radiation (OTR), we are studying a method for single shot emittance measurements. In this work, the basic principles of both diagnostics will be presented as well as the experimental results achieved by means of the SPARC_LAB high brightness LINAC and the high power laser FLAME.

ELIMAIA: A Laser Driven Ion Accelerator for Multidisciplinary Applications

Daniele Margarone

The main direction proposed by the community of experts in the field of laser driven ion acceleration is to improve the particle beam features (maximum energy, charge, emittance, divergence, monochromaticity, shot-to-shot stability) in order to demonstrate reliable and compact approaches to be used for multidisciplinary applications, thus, in principle, reducing the overall cost of a laser-based facility compared to a conventional accelerator one and, at the same time, demonstrating innovative and more effective sample irradiation geometries.

The mission of the laser driven ion target area at ELI-Beamlines, called ELIMAIA (ELI Multidisciplinary Applications of laser-Ion Acceleration), is to provide stable, fully characterized and tunable beams of particles accelerated by PW-class lasers, and to offer them to the user community for multidisciplinary applications. The ELIMAIA beamline is currently being designed and developed at the Institute of Physics of the Academy of Science of the Czech Republic (IoP-ASCR) in Prague and at the National Laboratories of Southern Italy of the National Institute for Nuclear Physics (LNS-INFN) in Catania. An international scientific network particularly interested in future applications of laser driven ions for hadrontherapy, ELIMED (ELI MEDical applications), has been established around the implementation of the ELIMAIA experimental system. The basic technology used for ELIMAIA research and development, along with envisioned parameters of such user beamline will be described and discussed.

Coherent, Short X-ray Generation via Relativistic Flying Mirrors

Masaki Kando†*, Timur Zh. Esirkepov†, James K. Koga†, Alexander S. Pirozhkov†, and Sergei V. Bulanov†
( denotes equal contribution)

Coherent, Short X-rays pulses are demanded in material science and biology for the study  of micro structures. Currently large-sized free-electron lasers are used, however, the available beam  lines are limited because of the large construction cost. Here we review a novel method to downsize  the system as well as providing fully coherent (spatially and temporally) pulses. The method is based  on reflection of coherent laser light by a relativistically moving mirror (flying mirrors). Due to the  double Doppler effect the reflected pulses are upshifted in frequency and compressed in time. Such  mirrors are formed when intense plasma waves are breaking as a results of intense short laser pulse  interacting with tenuous plasma. Theory, proof-of-principle experiments, and possible applications  are addressed.

Laser Requirements for High-Order Harmonic Generation by Relativistic Plasma Singularities

A. S. Pirozhkov*, T.Zh. Esirkepov, T.A. Pikuz, A.Ya. Faenov, A. Sagisaka, K. Ogura, Y. Hayashi, H. Kotaki, E.N. Ragozin, D. Neely, J.K. Koga, Y. Fukuda, M. Nishikino, T. Imazono, N. Hasegawa, T. Kawachi, H. Daido, Y. Kato1, S.V. Bulanov, K. Kondo, H. Kiriyama, and M. Kando

We discuss a new regime of high-order harmonic generation by relativistic-irradiance (I0 >1018 W/cm2) high-power (multi-terawatt) ultrashort (30–50 fs) lasers focused onto gas jet targets [Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 135004 (2012); New J. Phys. 16, 093003 (2014)]. In this regime, the laser propagates through underdense plasma (ne ~ 1019 cm-3) and produces electron-free cavity and bow wave. The resulting multi-stream relativistic plasma flow leads to the formation of density singularities located at the joining of the cavity wall and the bow wave front. These structurally stable oscillating electron density spikes coherently emit high-frequency radiation. Here we present the dependence of the harmonic yield on the focal spot quality and analyze the obtained results. We derive the required laser parameters for efficient harmonics generation. In particular, we found that the focal spot should approach the diffraction limit with the Strehl ratio exceeding 0.5. We also discuss implications for high-power lasers which typically suffer from wavefront distortions and angular dispersion. Thus, for noise-like wavefront distortions, this requirement corresponds to an rms wavefront error of <100 nm. Further, the angular dispersion should be kept smaller than a fraction of the diffraction divergence, i.e. μrad level for 100 to 300 mm beam diameters. The corresponding angular chirp should be <10-2 μrad/nm for a 50 nm bandwidth. We show the status of the J-KAREN-P laser [IEEE J. Sel. Topics Quantum Electron. 21, 1601118-18 (2015); Opt. Express (accepted)] and report on the progress towards satisfying these requirements.

Development of focusing plasma mirrors for ultraintense laser-driven particle and radiation sources

Robbie Wilson, Martin King, Ross J. Gray, David C. Carroll, Adam Higginson, Rachel J. Dance, Chris Armstrong, Steve J. Hawkes, Robert J. Clarke, David Neely, Paul McKenna

Increasing the achievable laser intensity can open up new regimes of laser-plasma interaction, resulting in the acceleration of ions to higher energies and more efficient coupling to energetic photons. Low f-number focusing plasma mirrors, which reimage and demagnify the laser focus, provide an attractive approach to producing higher intensities. They are small, enhance the pulse intensity contrast and prevent the need to expose expensive optics to target debris. We report on progress made in a programme of work to design, manufacture and optimise ellipsoidal focusing plasma mirrors. Different approaches to manufacturing these innovative optics are described and the results of characterisation tests are presented. The procedure developed to align the optics is outlined, together with initial results from their use with a petawatt-level laser.



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