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High-quality Laser-driven Proton beams for multidisciplinary Applications

Project description

New laser scheme enables more powerful proton accelerators

Proton accelerators generate high-energy proton beams for a wide range of applications, including cancer treatment. Proton accelerators employing high-power lasers could deliver higher doses of radiation in extremely short time periods (on the nanosecond scale) compared to conventional ones. The key obstacle to their wider implementation is the wide dispersion of the laser-driven proton beams. Funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, the HLPA project aims to tackle this issue by testing a novel arrangement enabling ultrahigh laser pulse intensities (a petawatt-class laser). The proposed scheme will enable tailoring the spatial and spectral profile of the beam at the source.


Proton accelerators are in significant demand due to their widespread societal applications, for instance clinical cancer therapy, as the protons target deep-seated tumours with negligible damage to the surrounding healthy tissues. High capital and operational costs associated with the conventional accelerators make proton therapy poorly accessible, which has triggered interest in search for affordable alternatives. In this context, proton acceleration employing high power lasers has recently emerged as a promising alternative to the conventional techniques. In addition to their compactness and cost effectiveness, the laser-driven sources deliver high doses in an extremely short-time period (one billionth of the second), offering a unique prospect for radiobiological studies. The key challenge, however, is to overcome broad energy spread and large divergence of the laser-driven proton beams. This project aims to control these shortcomings by employing a novel target arrangement at PW class laser, which can effectively tailor the spatial and spectral profile of the beam at the source, importantly at high repetition rate (1 Hz). Transporting the beams to large distances away from the laser interaction region will be demonstrated by using a system of magnets, as a step towards building dedicated beamlines for multidisciplinary applications. The high-quality proton beams with energies required for therapeutic applications ( > 50MeV) will be deployed, for the first time, in in-vitro radiobiological studies on cancer breast cells at dose rate of ~ 100 Gy/min. The timeliness of the project is underpinned by the on-going developments of high-power laser facilities globally, e.g. the pillars of the pan-European Extreme Light Infrastructure, EPAC (UK), and ZEUS (USA). Notably, this cutting edge research would reinforce Europe's leading role in the development of 'all-optical' accelerators and and position me at the forefront of this emerging field.


Net EU contribution
€ 166 278,72
182 21 Praha 8

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Česko Praha Hlavní město Praha
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
No data

Partners (1)