Studies of intense laser-matter interactions
This project is a continuation of the ongoing research activity in the field of high-intensity laser-matter interactions, with a particular focus on radiation generation and particle acceleration - an exceptionally active area of research due its possible implications for medicine, diagnostics, and new radiation devices. In particular, we have performed studies on electron and proton acceleration, as well as the generation of X-rays and gamma-rays from secondary processes. These numerical and theoretical studies have been done in close collaboration with experimental groups. In all these studies, simulations play a key role because of the highly nonlinear interactions, geometrical complexity, and multiscale physics of matter in strong laser fields. Phenomenological analysis of the numerical results helps us to structure experimental setups, understand the underlying physics, and develop theoretical models capable of making general conclusions and further predictions. Furthermore, we use comprehensive large-scale simulations to develop experiment designs that allow employing studied effects for solving applied problems or performing a fundamental research with available, upcoming or future laser facilities. Because of the timely nature of this research and the potential applications of its results, we have been awarded a KAW grant (a collaboration between Chalmers University of Technology, Umeå University and Lund University), started in 2014, with a current funding of 38,000 kSEK for five years. During the last five years, our group has made great progress in the development of the necessary numerical tools for our studies. In particular, we have worked extensively on, and implemented, an innovative (at least for our community) approach for the joint use and development of our codes. The approach is based on a platform specially designed for linking our progress in 1) accounting for a large variety of basic physical processes (ionization, radiation reaction, etc.), 2) on-the-fly visualization, 3) numerical methods implementation, 4) advanced parallelism (3D decomposition, dynamic load balancing) and thorough multilayer optimization (MPI, OpenMP, XeonPhi, GPU, CPU). This approach has triggered a wide range of projects (within and beyond our group), providing fruitful synergies between physicists and specialists in computational science. In this project, our group intends to use computational resources for the following problems: 1. Searching for new means of laser-driven ion acceleration (in collaboration with Lund Laser Center) from nanostructured targets irradiated by two spatially and temporally separated laser pulses (for staging, controlling and diagnostics). 2. Secondary radiation sources, i.e., ultra-short, bright tunable sources of X-rays from single particle events, as well as the generation of large-amplitude attosecond pulses from collective interactions. 3. Studies of single particle and collective dynamics in the regimes affected by radiation reaction and quantum electrodynamics.