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Research Focus A

Next-generation sources and device technology

MAP’s scientific application projects in Research Area B (Probing and Controlling Electrons) and Research Area C (Biomedical Imaging and Radiation Therapy with Brilliant X-Rays and Particle Beams) rely on cutting-edge ultrashort-pulse, high-power laser sources (Research Area A.1) and brilliant ion and X-ray sources (Research Area A.3) along with auxiliary technology (Research Area A.2). These tools and technologies permit us both tackling basic research into microscopic phenomena (B) and exploring the possibility of translating laser-based techniques into biomedical applications (C).

Fig. A.1: Position of Research Focus A in the frame of MAP.

Grand challenges and questions in Research Focus A

1) Can a compact hybrid X-ray source be advanced to replace a third-generation synchrotron source for R&D into high-resolution biomedical imaging?

This question will be tackled by developing an enhancement cavity for storing sub-picosecond pulses at unprecedented intra-cavity power levels and bringing them into collision with relativistic electron bunches in a commercial storage ring. Pursuit of this goal will rely on pushing the frontiers of high-damage-threshold, low-loss-multilayer optics

2) Is a cost-effective, purely laser-driven source for early diagnosis and therapy of cancer feasible?
We will pursue the advancement of laser-driven ion and X-ray sources to the parameter range relevant for clinical use. Simulations and target development are important parts of this enterprise.

3) Can ion and X-ray sources be integrated into an image-guided therapy system?
We aim at capitalising on the common driving source for therapeutic ion beams and diagnostic X-rays offering the possiblity of an integrated system for combating cancer

4) May advanced ultra-broadband sources of laser light expand the research opportunities in high-resolution time-resolved and frequency-resolved metrology?
We will advance attosecond sources and frequency combs towards higher fluxes and higher photon energies for pushing the frontiers of attosecond and high-resolution spectroscopy. This enterprise relies on the same technological developments in primary driving source technology as the pursuit of the grand challenges 1-3 creating a natural, technological link between Research Foci B and C.

5) Can the limits of conventional femtosecond laser technologies be overcome by novel methods for creating ideal prerequisites for the pursuit of challenges 1-4?
We will scale state-of-the-art technology towards higher peak and average power, broader bandwidth and shorter pulse durations. Such "next-generation" sources will allow to move from proof-of-principle demonstrations to a wide range of attosecond investigations of electron processes in atoms, molecules and solids and towards real-world applications in biomedical science