Brave new World: Insight into Munich’s laser physics

IDW Online

Carbon as a razor-thin transparent foil is one of the innovations presented by the "Munich-Centre of Advanced Photonics" (MAP) at the "LASER – World of Photonics" on May 23-26 in Munich. High-power lasers knock out pulsed ion beams out of these foils, which will be used as a low-cost and gentle alternative for cancer therapy in a few years. At the joint booth of the Bavarian Universities (B2.407) MAP and the future "Centre for Advanced Laser Applications" (CALA) present how cancer diagnostics and therapy benefit from the new lasers.
Research objectives of the Cluster of Excellence MAP, which is financed by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, are more powerful lasers with higher intensities and shorter pulses. With the help of these lasers it is possible to show structures of complex biomolecules, arthritically modified cartilages at a very early stage and tiniest tumors. Besides tumor diagnosis, tumor therapy is an important long-term objective on which physicists and medical scientists jointly research. The power enhancement of the lasers demands special amplifier techniques and – above all – special mirrors which have not been on the market yet. In the MAP Service Centre scientists produce chirped mirrors, as they are called: Custom-made mirrors for every wavelength and every research problem. The production requires extensive experimental and computational efforts, which sometimes take several days. The modern research lasers are strong enough to generate and accelerate particles such as ions and electrons. This is the second main area of the MAP Service Centre: As the only team in the world they produce razor-thin carbon foils of atoms in a diamond-like structure. If an intense laser pulse strikes such a foil it separates the atoms in faster electrons and heavier and thus slower ions. These particles are driven by light pressure and automatically align in single pulses. For these two main areas the MAP Service Centre received the award Selected Landmark 2011.

Find more information at [ homepage of the Cluster of Excellence].