LOEWE Research Cluster Nuclear Photonics

Project Area A: Intense-laser-based particle sources

Picture: Jan-Christoph Hartung

Project area A elaborates on the development of laser-driven high-intensity particle sources as new tools for basic nuclear-physics research and technical applications. The main emphasis within this LOEWE research cluster is on the realization of novel compact and very intense neutron sources. Neutrons are valuable probes for material science and engineering, and the shrinking number of research reactors leaves a void that is expected to create a high demand also in fundamental science. Experiments will be carried out at ELI-Beamlines near Prague and will be complemented by work at GSI’s PHELIX laser and other facilities around the world.

Project area coordinator:

(PIs: Priv.-Doz. Dr. Vincent Bagnoud, Prof. Dr. Oliver Boine-Frankenheim)

A1 investigates experimentally and theoretically the optimum conditions for laser-driven ion-beam production as prerequisite for neutron generation (in A2) and applications (A3 and A4). It is related to target-fabrication issues addressed within project C2.

(PIs: Prof. Dr. Markus Roth, Dr. Christian Rödel)

In A2, concepts for laser-driven sources of pulsed neutrons are being studied. Selected tasks include the optimization of converter targets and the possible use of moderators. A2 applies results obtained in A1 for high-intensity ion beams and represents the basis for neutron-source applications in technology (A3) and nuclear science (A4). A2 collaborates closely with the detector development in project C1.

(PIs: Prof. Dr. Markus Roth, Dr. Christian Rödel)

This project is closely collaborating with projects A1, A2, C1, and C2. Based on optimization results and properties of the neutron sources developed within project A2, project A3 focuses on potential applications in technology, engineering, and physical sciences beyond nuclear physics. To this end, concepts for a complete system providing laser-driven neutron pulses will be investigated.

(PIs: Prof. Dr. Thorsten Kröll, Prof. Dr. Joachim Enders)

Neutrons are a valuable tool for numerous investigations in nuclear-structure physics, too. Typically, such experiments are carried out at research reactors or accelerator-driven neutron sources. Laser-based sources promise to provide intense neutron pulses from table-top systems. This project will exemplify – in close collaboration with projects A2, A3, and C1 – selected first applications of laser-based neutrons in nuclear physics.