Laser fusion and extreme field physics
We work on Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF), which involves focusing hundreds of laser beams onto a centimeter sized target. The target, made of deuterium and tritium implodes and undergoes fusion - the same process that power the stars. This process generates vast amounts of energy, and harnessing it would provide a limitless, clean source for energy for humanity's future. Image courtesy AWE.
Plasma accelerators provide electric fields ten thousand times more intense than conventional accelerators. Particles can 'surf' off of these fields and be accelerated to energies in a centimeter sized plasma accelerator that would otherwise require hundreds of meters in a conventional device.
Lasers pulses can now be focused to unprecedented intensities on target so much so that is is possible to polarize the vacuum, create electron positron pairs at rates never seen before, and form the brightest possible coherent X-ray source by focusing the harmonic radiation.
We are combining the powerful techniques of machine learning and hyperspectral imaging to understand a wide range of novel phenomena in high energy density plasma physics. Topics include time-resolved imaging of wakefield accelerators with femtosecond temporal resolution and three-dimensional reconstruction of self-generated magnetic fields. Our spin-out company Living Optics is applying these insights into new products for a wide range of industrial applications.