Laser matter interaction and applications
Laser driven acceleration and applications
1650, boul. Lionel-Boulet
Varennes (Québec) J3X 1S2
My current research plans are focused on the setup and improvement of laser-driven proton and electron beamlines for several applications. Each project is targeting a different field of application, ranging from nanoscience and nanotechnology, to biomedicine, femtochemistry and material science. Projects will be performed in collaboration with other leading groups in the domain. In particular I concentrate on the following four main research activities:
1 Ultra-brilliant and ultra-short table-top proton beamlines and applications: research on critical components of a laser-driven proton beamline to achieve controllable proton beams with sub-ps bunch duration and kA current, allowing unprecedented applications. Research includes targets (cryogenic target, tape target, array target, nanostructured target), beam handling and transport (energy selector, focusing devices), diagnostics (high-repetition rate spectrometers, real-time measurements).
1a Sub-nanometer precision growth of nanocrystals: The possibility of obtaining routinely nanocrystals with controlled shape, dimensions and crystallinity is a grand industrial challenge that is considered strategically important for manifold applications, e.g. in electronics or medicine. The irradiation of a bulk target by high energetic particles (in particular protons) can generate the temperature and pressure conditions required to grow crystalline structures, while the short pulse duration limits the nucleation time to the range of ps-ns, ensuring the stop of the nucleation at crystallinity phase without aggregation of amorphous structures. I investigate the use of laser-generated protons to grow and obtain nanostructured surfaces and colloidal solutions where the constituent nanomaterials are nanocrystals with well defined shape, dimensions and crystallinity in the nm rage.
1b Nanosecond resolved neutron spectroscopy of biological molecules: I investigate the use of tailored ultra-short high-flux laser-generated proton bunches to generate, over secondary reaction, a high-energy, high-flux, short pulse neutron burst. These neutrons can be used for probing molecules with at least three orders of magnitude higher temporal resolution respect the current analysis methods. This ensures a much precise knowledge of molecular dynamics and, hence, of many biological systems, with enormous and incalculable advantages in many fields such as pharmacology, medicine, agriculture, botanic and zoology.
1c Material stress tests for space applications: using the high and fast energy of laser-generated protons we can reproduce high-temperatures and pressures, similar as those obtained when going into the space of in fusion
2 Femtosecond Sub-atomic scale Resolved Electron Diffraction: Ultra Fast Electron Diffraction has a great potential for studying 4D structural dynamics, the combination of high spatial resolution (on a sub-atomic scale, i.e. 8-10 pm) and high temporal resolution (scale of chemical reactions i.e. sub 50 fs) makes it possible to perform online analysis of structural changes and energy redistribution in many chemical and biological systems. I investigate high-flux, high-energy laser-accelerated electrons with fs-scale temporal resolution for performing Electron Diffraction experiments. This allows, for the first time, to study the evolution of many biological and chemical systems (i.e. chemical reactions, materials melting, nanomaterials growth process, DNA and RNA evolution). These systems, which evolve in a very short spatial scale and very fast temporal scale, are currently investigated by indirect methods due to the absence of direct investigation techniques that can offer contemporaneously these extremely challenging spatial and temporal resolutions.
3 Ultra-compact, ultra-short laser-based Free Electron Laser: Using ultra-short (fs) laser-generated high-energy electrons (>300 MeV) to be injected into undulators in order to generate high-brightness ultra-short coherent FEL radiation for electron diffraction and high-resolution biomolecular studies. Today, facilities generating radiation with longer pulses are huge, costly and rare (e.g. LCLS). A compact solution with improved parameters would facilitate boosting the field and applications.
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