Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - MULTIRAD (Energetic Ultrafast Laser-Driven Radiation Sources: Applications in Biology, Chemistry and Physics)

Since the 1950s, lasers have harnessed broad applications in fields ranging across military, scientific, medical, industrial and commercial fields. In this continued multi-sectoral development, the Marie Curie Excellence Grant MULTIRAD and the UNIS research group hosted in IESL-FORTH in Greece, is developing energetic ultrafast laser-driven radiation sources, with applications across scientific boundaries. Using a powerful and high-repetition rate infra-red laser, secondary sources of radiation from x-rays, UV and visible waves, through to far infrared, Terahertz and microwaves are produced.

This laser fires in a femtosecond (fs): one quadrillionth, or one millionth of one billionth, of a second. This astonishing brevity is part of the appeal of these secondary sources, which stem from the laser pulse passing through matter such as solids, gases or plasmas, resulting in highly non-linear processes. During the period of the project a number of secondary sources have been developed and explored in applications in photonics, biomedicine, chemistry, materials science and physics. Just to mention a few applications: THz radiation for biomedical imaging and nonlinear optics, micro structuring and engraving of photonic elements in the bulk of transparent solids, dynamically tuneable metamaterials in the THz range and ultrashort electron bunches to study proteins and other biological agents.

A major facet of the group's research is filamentation: dynamically self-trapped laser beams that propagate in all transparent media with a very narrow width and high intensity. Because of their unique attributes, a number of applications have been suggested; however, their development hinges upon overcoming the dynamic spatio-temporal evolution of filamentation, to tailor intensity, diameter, length and induced electron density. Diffraction-free Bessel or Airy beams can lead to stationary filaments and uniform plasma strings. The self-healing characteristics of Airy beams render them able to reconstruct their profile when partially blocked during propagation, while their transverse bending could be exploited when optical power has to be delivered to a destination in a bended trajectory beyond an obstacle.

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