Laser-driven particle acceleration is the center of our research activities.
Two main projects are being pursued:
Electron acceleration, where the laser is focused on a pulsed helium gas jet. A relativistic channel is formed and some of the electrons in the plasma are accelerated to high energies.
Proton acceleration, where the laser is focused on a thin film of solid material (plastic, aluminium...). Protons on the back side of the target are ripped off by fast electrons and accelerated to high energies.
The accelerating gradients in both cases are many orders of magnitude larger than those obtained with conventional accelerators.
X-ray production from laser-accelerated electrons wiggling in the radial field of the same plasma channel as where they are accelerated. This gives rise to very short and intense X-ray pulses, in a narrow cone in the electron beam direction. This type of X-rays are frequently called betatron radiation.
Earlier X-ray research in the group was more focused on laser-produced X-rays from laser irradiated solid targets.