Farhat Beg awarded Air Force Office of Scientific Research Grant to study heavy ion acceleration

AFOSR Award(January 2015)

Professor Farhat Beg of UC San Diego’s Center for Energy Research will lead a three-year project with collaborators from the University of Michigan and the Naval Research Laboratory titled State-of-the-art high-flux mono-energetic ion sources driven by ultra-intense laser pulses. The grant was funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Basic Research Initiatives program.

The project aims to develop a new generation of high-quality mono-energetic ion beams, including protons and heavy ions, by pushing sub-micron thin foils with the enormous radiation pressure of an ultra-intense laser. Experiments are planned at some of the world's most intense lasers, and advanced simulations will be carried out with computational resources at UC San Diego and the Naval Research Laboratory.

"Short-pulse lasers made a major breakthrough 10 years ago by allowing the acceleration of high-quality, high-energy electron beams in a compact setup,” explains Dr. Chris McGuffey, a member of Professor Beg’s High Energy Density Physics Group. “Now we're trying to accomplish the same thing with ions, which could be used for radiation treatment of tumors or probing of materials.”

These experiments build on previous work by Professor Beg's group studying particle acceleration using intense lasers. The project supports the AFOSR's goal to foster basic research leading to discovery in the relatively young field of laser-matter interactions in the relativistic optics regime.

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