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Physics Seminar | Accelerating Particles Using Lasers and Plasmas: Physics and Applications
Accelerating Particles Using Lasers and Plasmas: Physics and Applications
Speaker: Dr. Jérôme Faure, Ecole Polytechnique, France
LOA, ENSTA-CNRS-Ecole Polytechnique, Palaiseau, France
As shown by the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics, ultra-intense femtosecond lasers have become a major tool for physics and technology. In the past two decades, following the evolution of lasers, a new method for accelerating particles has emerged: using ultra-intense femtosecond lasers, it is now possible to accelerate electrons to relativistic energies in millimeter distances. The laser is focused into a gas that is rapidly ionized and turned into a plasma by the laser field. Owing to the enormous electric fields that the plasma can support, this technique has the potential of producing compact particle accelerators, with a reduction in size by a factor of 100 to 1000 compared to conventional accelerator technology .
In this talk, we will review the physics of these so-called “laser plasma accelerators” and show how they can be used to produced bright beams of femtosecond electrons and X-rays . We will show how these novel sources of high-energy particles can be used in applications as diverse as radiography, medicine and for probing condensed matter on ultrashort time scales. We will conclude by introducing recent results of our research showing that the physics of laser-plasma accelerators can now be accessed using laser systems of relatively modest size, well adapted to university-like laboratories .
About the Speaker
Jérôme Faure obtained a PhD in Physics from Ecole Polytechnique in 2001 and after a two-year post-doc at Berkeley Lab, he joined LOA as a tenured CNRS researcher in 2003. In the past 20 years, he has worked on the development of laser-plasma accelerators, i.e., miniature accelerators based on the interaction of a laser with a plasma. At LOA, he has pioneered the field of laser-plasma acceleration by obtaining major results such as the production some of the first quasi-monoenergetic electron beams using femtosecond laser pulses (2004), and the demonstration of controlled injection in plasma accelerators (2006). He is now Research Director and the head of a research group at LOA. His current research interests include the development of high repetition rate electron sources and their application to the study of ultrafast phenomena in matter via ultrafast electron diffraction. Dr. Faure is also an associate professor at Ecole Polytechnique where he teaches optics, quantum and statistical physics. He is the laureate of several awards, including the EPS Fresnel Prize (2007), the EPS Fabre Prize (2016) and the recipient of an ERC consolidator grant (2013-2018).
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