25 May 2011 Proton- and x-ray beams generated by ultra-fast CO2 lasers for medical applications
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Abstract
Recent progress in using picosecond CO2 lasers for Thomson scattering and ion-acceleration experiments underlines their potentials for enabling secondary radiation- and particle- sources. These experiments capitalize on certain advantages of long-wavelength CO2 lasers, such as higher number of photons per energy unit, and favorable scaling of the electrons' ponderomotive energy and critical plasma density. The high-flux x-ray bursts produced by Thomson scattering of the CO2 laser off a counter-propagating electron beam enabled high-contrast, time-resolved imaging of biological objects in the picosecond time frame. In different experiments, the laser, focused on a hydrogen jet, generated monoenergetic proton beams via the radiation-pressure mechanism. The strong power-scaling of this regime promises realization of proton beams suitable for laser-driven proton cancer therapy after upgrading the CO2 laser to sub-PW peak power. This planned improvement includes optimizing the 10-μm ultra-short pulse generation, assuring higher amplification in the CO2 gas under combined isotopic- and power-broadening effects, and shortening the postamplification pulse to a few laser cycles (150-200 fs) via chirping and compression. These developments will move us closer to practical applications of ultra-fast CO2 lasers in medicine and other areas.
© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Igor Pogorelsky, Mikhail Polyanskiy, Vitaly Yakimenko, Ilan Ben-Zvi, Peter Shkolnikov, Zulfikar Najmudin, Charlotte A. J. Palmer, Nicholas P. Dover, Piernicola Oliva, Massimo Carpinelli, "Proton- and x-ray beams generated by ultra-fast CO2 lasers for medical applications", Proc. SPIE 8079, Laser Acceleration of Electrons, Protons, and Ions; and Medical Applications of Laser-Generated Secondary Sources of Radiation and Particles, 80791L (25 May 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.889113; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.889113
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