Laser-generated electromagnetic pulses

The interaction of high-energy and high-power laser pulses with matter produces broadband particle and electromagnetic radiation. In particular, a significant portion of the incoming laser energy is transformed to powerful transient electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) in a broad range of radiofrequencies, microwaves and THz radiation. Such fields depend on laser energy and intensity and can easily exceed the MV/m magnitude - strong enough to represent a significant danger for any electronic device placed inside or outside the experimental vacuum chamber. This has been observed worldwide in experiments with high power lasers.

EMPs pose a very important limitation on the performance of high-power laser facilities for applications as diverse as inertial confinement fusion and laser–plasma acceleration. More severe issues are expected for the upcoming PW-scale lasers. The increase of the repetition rate needed to transition processes such as laser acceleration from scientific proof of principle to “real world” applications, e.g. for hadron therapy, also creates the need for more reliable and efficient EMP protection and mitigation techniques.

Understanding the origin of EMP and the complex temporal and spatial distribution of these electromagnetic fields is of key importance for the development of suitable EMP mitigation schemes for safe facility operation. This is constrained by the development of quantitative EMP diagnostic methods and devices that are capable of operating in the harsh conditions of high-power laser experiments.

The members of the present expert group have strong common research interests and extensive expertise on the research activities of laser-generated electromagnetic pulses in the whole RF-μw-THz band, including modeling, diagnostics, mitigation and applications. This will be of direct applicability to all modern laser plasma facilities and importantly to future laser-plasma acceleration and inertial-confinement-fusion plants, and potentially to next generation laser-driven hadron therapy systems. The expert group will promote and focus the activities of each institution to define mutual collaborations and prepare joint experimental campaigns.

For more information, please see the position paper of the expert group. 

Work package 1: Theory, Modelling, Mitigation and Applications

Work package 2: Diagnostics and Experiments