Laser Accelerated Ions in Solid Targets for Medical Applications
|Research Area||Plasma & Particle Physics|
|Principal Investigator(s)||Luís O. Silva|
Ultra intense lasers are opening new research fronts, from laboratory astrophysics to probing the quantum vacuum, from radiation sources to particle accelerators. One of the most exciting applications is ion acceleration in solid targets, which promises to deliver ion beams with features that can be of extreme relevance for medical applications, namely cancer therapy. Up to now, and in experiments, ion beams with energies up to a few MeV have been measured; medical applications require, however, energies in the 100 - 200 MeV. Novel laser systems in the multi-PW range, with intensities in excess of 1022 W/cm2, will provide the laser intensities capable of exploring the different ion acceleration mechanisms in solid targets (from plasma expansion to radiation pressure dominated regime, and including proton acceleration) and of accelerating ions to the required parameters for medical applications. In this proposal, and using massively parallel simulations, we aim to determine, for the first time with realistic target properties (e.g. density, composition, dimensions) and the correct simulation dimensionality, the main features of the ion beams accelerated in nanometer scale to micron scale solid structured/unstructured targets including all the relevant microphysics/field dynamics, with the particle-in-cell code OSIRIS, and with the goal of demonstrating the potential of laser accelerated ion beams for applications, with an emphasis on medical applications associated with cancer therapy.