Proton beams from a nanotube accelerator
Professor, PhD.Eng. Masakatsu MURAKAMI,
Head of Theoretical Group at Institute of Laser Engineering (ILE) ,Osaka University
Time: 10:00 am, May 29, 2013
Place: Meeting room (3rd Floor) of LLP Building
Abstract: - Triggered by a laser pulse, a properly loaded nanogun could, at least in
principle, fire a powerful stream of energetic protons -
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are hardy and versatile, with remarkable material and electronic properties. And they could be useful in some extreme conditions as well. We propose using a CNT as a shotgun barrel to shoot a beam of protons. The scheme nests two small hydrogen-rich fragments―which could be water ice, paraffin, or some other low-Z material but are modeled as hydrogen nanotubes in the present three dimensional simulations ― within a larger CNT that has gold atoms chemically adsorbed in its wall. The assembled structure is then zapped from the side with an ultraintense femtosecond laser pulse. As shown in quantitative three-dimensional simulations, the laser partially ionizes the gold and fully ionizes the hydrogen and carbon in the assemblage; after a few swings of the laser's electric field, significant numbers of electrons (white in the schematic) are blown off and form a cloud around the CNT. The now highly ionized coaxial structure generates a Coulomb potential in which the protons (blue) from the low-Zshotgun shells are squeezed toward the axis and accelerated out both ends of the CNT. The simulations indicate that even a non-optimized setup can produce highly collimated beams of nearly monoenergetic protons―1.5 MeV for the parameters used. Such beams are of great interest in fields as diverse as medicine, fusion energy, and materials engineering.
(see also Physics Today, 2 May: )
About the speaker:  On 31 March, 1987, M. Murakami defended Doctor thesis at ILE, Osaka
Univ. After he got Ph.D degree, he worked two and half year at Max-Planck-Institute for quantum-optics (MPQ) in Germany, where he studied laser-matter interaction and heavy ion fusion physics with Prof. J.Meyer-ter-Vehn. Coming back to Japan in 1990, he worked on Laser Isotope Separation for two years at Institute of Laser Technology, which is headed by C. Yamanaka (former director of ILE, Osaka Univ.)
Last Update: May 29, 2013