The funding of the ELI-NP project from Structural Funds was approved by the European Commission




  Research Activities - RA3 - Nuclear Physics with High-Power Lasers

The RA3 activity is at the core of the laser driven Nuclear Physics mission of ELI-NP. The main focus is the study of new nuclear phenomena induced by high power laser interaction with mater and the development of applications based on them. Two 10 PW lasers will be available for experiments. In the near term, the goal of RA3 is the implementation of experimental setups towards the scientific directions described in the following. These setups will be built in three major Experimental Areas: E1, E6, and E5, each of them housing specific interaction chamber, laser beam transport, and diagnostics. E1 is dedicated to 2x10 PW experiments in laser driven nuclear physics and strong-field QED, using particles accelerated in solid targets. E6 is designed for 2x10 PW strong-field QED experiments using ultra-relativistic electrons accelerated in gas targets. E5 is dedicated to 2x1 PW experiments in material sciences and in biological sciences, and to supporting studies for the 2x10 experiments.

Laser driven nuclear physics. High power lasers will be capable to produce high energy charged particles, γ-rays, and neutrons, with peak flux orders of magnitude higher than possible with conventional accelerators. In the E1 experimental area of ELI-NP, these short-duration high fluxes of nuclear particles will be used to study a new kind of nuclear physics phenomena, such as:
  • Exotic heavy neutron-rich nuclei produced with new methods involving sequential reactions in plasma
  • The stopping power for dense bunches of charged particles
  • Nuclear reactions in hot and dense plasma simulating in the laboratory astrophysical conditions
  • Nuclear excitations and de-excitations in plasma conditions leading to changes in (apparent) nuclear lifetimes and other observables

  • As an example of exotic reactions, we will explore using solid-state density bunches of heavy ions accelerated to around 10 MeV/nucleon through the Radiation Pressure Acceleration mechanism, to produce astrophysical relevant neutron rich nuclei around the N~126 waiting point, using the sequential fission-fusion scheme. This will help elucidate the mystery of high-Z element formation in the Universe. The proposed scheme is complementary to any other existing or planned method of producing radioactive nuclei.

    Strong-field QED. The extremely high laser intensities achievable at ELI-NP will create ultrahigh electric and magnetic fields at the focus of the laser beams and allow to explore quantum electrodynamics in new regimes. Exciting prospects are concerning:
  • The study of quantum radiation reaction on beam and plasma electrons accelerated violently by the laser field
  • The production of abundant electron-positron pairs and energetic gamma-rays in laser interaction with electrons
  • High energy gamma-catalyzed production of electron-positron pairs from vacuum, in the laser focus

  • For example, the main QED processes predicted to be important at the laser intensities achievable at ELI-NP are:
    (a) The nonlinear inverse Compton scattering, where a large fraction (up to ~80%) of the energy of accelerated electrons is converted into gamma-rays by the laser field
    (b) The production of electron-positron pairs by the multiphoton Breit-Wheeler process which generates further photons and pairs, resulting in a cascade of pair production

    This research will push the limits of our present knowledge of the interaction of light with matter, as described by quantum electrodynamics.

    Materials in extreme radiation environments. In E5 experimental area, the study of materials behavior in extreme radiation environments will be the main topic, with the goal of developing industrial and societal applications. The foreseen studies are relevant for the understanding of:
  • The structural materials degradation in next generation of particle accelerators and of fusion or fission energy reactors
  • The interaction of biological systems with tunable multi-component radiation with wide energy spectrum, with relevance for improving biologic radioprotection in space missions, and for cancer radiotherapy

  • For example testing of novel materials for accelerator components at the future high-power facilities like FAIR, High Lumi-LHC, FRIB, neutrino factories and ESS, in conditions of radiation, temperature and pressure similar to the operation scenarios, will be possible by using "cocktails" of laser driven particles and laser induced shock waves.

    In support of the above research, the RA3 group will also investigate efficient methods of electron and ion acceleration and novel instrumentation and diagnostic methods for the proposed experiments. New diagnostic methods, ranging from optical to nuclear field, are necessary because of the unprecedented laser intensities at ELI-NP. A well-equipped laboratory will enable producing on site sophisticated laser targets, including nanostructured targets. All these research and development activities will be performed through international collaborations towards optimizing experimental setups and diagnostics, and developing future research directions.


    Dan STUTMAN   Head of RA3   CV / Publications
    Gheorghe ACBAS   Research Scientist   CV / Publications
    Teodor ASAVEI   Research Scientist   CV / Publications
    Septimiu BALASCUTA   Research Scientist   CV / Publications
    Mariana BOBEICA   Research Scientist   CV / Publications
    Andi CUCOANES   Research Scientist   CV / Publications
    Petru GHENUCHE   Research Scientist   CV / Publications
    Marius GUGIU   Research Scientist   CV / Publications
    Catalin MIRON   Research Scientist   CV / Publications
    Florin NEGOITA   Research Scientist   CV / Publications
    Florin ROTARU   Research Scientist   CV / Publications
    Edmond TURCU   Research Scientist   CV / Publications
    Mihail CERNAIANU   Engineer  
    Mihai RISCA   Engineer  
    Matei TATARU   Engineer  
    Cristina GHEORGIU   Postdoctoral Research Assistant  
    Iulia BARBUT   PhD Student  
    Dragos POPESCU   PhD Student  
    Lucian TUDOR   PhD Student  
    Robert DINCA   Technician  
    Daniel POPA   Technician  

    The content of this document does not necessarily represent the official position of the European Union or of the Government of Romania.
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