Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS



Project ID: 307238
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: United Kingdom

Final Report Summary - STRUCMAGFAST (The Physics and Applications of Magnetic Guiding of Fast Electrons through Structured Targets)

When ultra-intense lasers irradiate solid targets, a large portion of their energy goes into a spray of relativistic electrons. These relativistic electrons can be harnessed for a wide range of applications including advanced laser fusion schemes, a heating method for scaled experiments of astrophysical phenomena, ion acceleration, x-ray generation, through to study the basic properties of extreme states of matter. However realising these ideas will require control of the propagation of these 'fast' electrons on scales less than the width of a human hair.
Although it is unfeasible to build analogues of the control devices in a conventional electron accelerator on these scales, we can still control the growth of magnetic fields due to the finite resistivity of these dense plasmas. In particular the growth of magnetic fields at resistivity gradients (in the presence of a fast electron flow). Such a gradient can be created by building a target out of different materials. Thus we can engineer paths and reflecting surfaces for the fast electrons through target construction.
This project is about opening up the possibilities that this seemingly simple techinque offers. It allows new ways to guide fast electrons for advanced laser fusion concepts, control the heating of matter to high temperature for fundamental physics studies and for astrophysically-relevent hydrodynamics studies. To this end we have developed new simulation software and deploying this software to probe the basic physics, confront the outstanding challenges, and the explore the new possibilities that this 'structured guiding' approach to controlling fast electrons offers.
At the conclusion of this project we are much more confident that processes whose influence on the 'structured guiding' approach was uncertain are not great obstacles to the idea, and our new simulation capabilities supports this conclusion.
We have developed a set of new ideas within the framework of 'structured guiding' that will help in developing the idea for laser fusion, and in its application to studing fundamental science.

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United Kingdom
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