Could massive arrays of thousands of fiber lasers be the driving force behind the next-generation neutron source? New research could help cut the size of powerful particle accelerators from kilometers to meters in length according to its supporters.
The proposed technology could produce more practical equipment for generating proton beams for cancer treatment, or for running accelerator-driven nuclear reactors that would use existing nuclear waste or the abundant element thorium for fuel.
The accelerator proposed would use aprinciple known as laser wakefield acceleration whereby a laser pulse is fired into a small tube of gas or plasma to create a wake of electric potential that can accelerate particles to very high speeds over very short distances.
It is the EU-funded International Coherent Amplification Network (ICAN) who is running the project. ICAN is made up of 14 laboratories around the world including the LHC operator CERN (the European Organisation for Nuclear Research) and Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena, Germany, and coordinated by École polytechnique in France.
Laser research lights way to mini particle accelerators, The Engineer
International Coherent Amplification Network (ICAN), EU FP7-INFRASTRUCTURES
Scientists propose fiber laser approach for 'next Large Hadron Collider', Optics.org