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My thoughts after an article about “Colliding lasers double the energy of proton beams”

My thoughts after an article about "Colliding lasers double the energy of proton beams"

by Chalmers University of Technology

I read this post and have some ideas to share

Modern high-powered lasers offer the potential to reduce the equipment’s size and cost, since they can accelerate particles over a much shorter distance than traditional accelerators—reducing the distance required from kilometres to metres. The problem is, despite efforts from researchers around the world, laser generated proton beams are currently not energetic enough. But now, the Swedish researchers present a new method which yields a doubling of the energy—a major leap forward.

— that is true since you need to hit the proton with photon. Mass of photon is 1.07×10^−27 eV/c2 (the equivalent of 10^−18 atomic mass units) while mass of proton is 938.2720813(58) MeV/c2 ~ almost in ^34 more…

The standard approach involves firing a laser pulse at a thin metallic foil, with the interaction resulting in a beam of highly charged protons. The new method involves instead first splitting the laser into two less intense pulses, before firing both at the foil from two different angles simultaneously. When the two pulses collide on the foil, the resultant electromagnetic fields heat the foil extremely efficiently. The technique results in higher energy protons whilst using the same initial laser energy as the standard approach.

— This is quite interesting why does it happen. In terms of quantum physics, it is not quite clear why colliding photons create more power. Is it because of standing waves?!

The unique advantage of proton therapy is its precision in targeting cancer cells, killing them without injuring healthy cells or organs close by. The method is therefore crucial for treating deep-seated tumours, located in the brain or spine, for example. The higher energy the proton beam has, the further into the body it can penetrate to fight cancer cells.

— The practical aspect is quite clear however I think the energy of protons should be adjusted for every single case or disease.

Accelerated protons are not only interesting for cancer treatment. They can be used to investigate and analyse different materials, and to make radioactive material less harmful. They are also important for the space industry. Energetic protons constitute a large part of cosmic radiation, which damages satellites and other space equipment. Producing energetic protons in the lab allows researchers to study how such damage occurs, and to develop new materials which can better withstand the stresses of space travel.

— In my personal opinion, you may do something similar with laser radiation of different wavelength for different stages. Since laser beam in different wavelength could be absorbed by cells much better. Still, protons could be quite hard to aim to compare with laser beam.

And what do you think?!

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