UCI Department of Physics and Astronomy
Thursday, November 1, 2018
Society has bene ted tremendously from the rapid miniaturization of the transistor, to the point where describing newdevices necessitates new physics models and theories. Through the use of high power, short pulse lasers (a technology which warranted the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics), an analogous revolution is occurring in particle accelerators where new capabilities and compact forms are being developed. Intense laser interactions have been shown to generate beams of coherent x-rays with attosecond (1015 second) durations, multi-GeV electron beams with nanocoulomb charge, multi-MeV per nucleon beams of light ions with extremely low divergence, and mono-energetic beams of neutrons and positrons.
The physics of an advanced accelerator is inherently complex, as the intense laser interactions occur in moderate to hgh density plasma where electron dynamics can be highly nonlinear and relativistic. In this colloquium, I will discuss some of the recent advances in compact radiation production, including the generation of ultra-broadband x-ray sources, control over x-ray polarization states, and how the mechanisms scale with varying laser wavelength. These results are from experiments performed on various laser systems around the world, and from numerical simulations performed on high performance computing facilities.