Laser-driven X-ray and neutron source development for industrial applications of plasma accelerators

C M Brenner, S R Mirfayzi, D R Rusby, C Armstrong, A Alejo, L Wilson, R Clarke, H Ahmed, N M H Butler, D Haddock, A Higginson, A McClymont, C Murphy, M Notley, P Oliver, R Allott, C Hernandez-Gomez, S Kar, P McKenna, D Neely

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Pulsed beams of energetic X-rays and neutrons from intense laser interactions with solid foils are promising for applications where bright, small emission area sources, capable of multi-modal delivery are ideal. Possible end users of laser-driven multi-modal sources are those requiring advanced non-destructive inspection techniques in industry sectors of high value commerce such as aerospace, nuclear and advanced manufacturing. We report on experimental work that demonstrates multi-modal operation of high power laser-solid interactions for neutron and X-ray beam generation. Measurements and Monte-Carlo radiation transport simulations show that neutron yield is increased by a factor ~ 2 when a 1mm copper foil is placed behind a 2mm lithium foil, compared to using a 2cm block of lithium only. We explore X-ray generation with a 10 picosecond drive pulse in order to tailor the spectral content for radiography with medium density alloy metals. The impact of using >1ps pulse duration on laser-accelerated electron beam generation and transport is discussed alongside the optimisation of subsequent Bremsstrahlung emission in thin, high atomic number target foils. X-ray spectra are deconvolved from spectrometer measurements and simulation data generated using the GEANT4 Monte-Carlo code. We also demonstrate the unique capability of laser-driven X-rays in being able to deliver single pulse high spatial resolution projection imaging of thick metallic objects. Active detector radiographic imaging of industrially relevant sample objects with a 10ps drive pulse is presented for the first time, demonstrating that features of 200µm size are resolved when projected at high magnification.
Original languageEnglish
Article number014039
Number of pages9
JournalPlasma Physics and Controlled Fusion
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2015


  • energetic x-rays
  • x-rays
  • solid foils
  • non-destructive techniques
  • laser accelerated electron beams

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  • Projects


    Pulsed X-ray imaging of high-density objects using a ten picosecond high-intensity laser driver

    Rusby, D. (Creator), McKenna, P. (Creator) & Neely, D. (Creator), University of Strathclyde, 5 Oct 2016


    Cite this

    Brenner, C. M., Mirfayzi, S. R., Rusby, D. R., Armstrong, C., Alejo, A., Wilson, L., Clarke, R., Ahmed, H., Butler, N. M. H., Haddock, D., Higginson, A., McClymont, A., Murphy, C., Notley, M., Oliver, P., Allott, R., Hernandez-Gomez, C., Kar, S., McKenna, P., & Neely, D. (2015). Laser-driven X-ray and neutron source development for industrial applications of plasma accelerators. Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, 58, [014039].