The European Physical Journal Special Topics

, Volume 175, Issue 1, pp 147–152 | Cite as

High-intensity lasers as radiation sources

An overview of laser-induced nuclear reactions and applications
  • J. Galy
  • D. J. Hamilton
  • C. Normand


In the last decade or so, an evolution in experimental relativistic laser-plasma physics has led to highly sophisticated lasers which are now capable of generating ultra-short pulses and can be focused to intensities in excess of 1021 W cm-2. The laser interaction with solid or gas targets can generate collimated beams of highly energetic electrons, protons and ions. These high-intensity laser systems, therefore, turn out to be versatile and powerful sources of radiation and high-energy particles, without recourse to large-scale facilities such as nuclear reactors or particle accelerators. The potential to induce various kinds of nuclear reactions with laser-induced radiation fields has been demonstrated at several laboratories in recent years. The present paper lays out a comprehensive overview of nuclear reactions induced by high-intensity laser matter interactions. Mechanisms for electron, proton and ion acceleration, in addition to secondary bremsstrahlung, positron and neutron production, are addressed, with a focus on the types of nuclear reactions that are possible and potential applications. Discussion of the extrapolation of these processes and applications to the next generation of table-top lasers under construction is also presented.


Nuclear Reaction European Physical Journal Special Topic Neutron Source Neutron Production Pulse Neutron Source 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© EDP Sciences and Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.EC-JRC Institute for Transuranium ElementsKarlsruheGermany
  2. 2.Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK

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