Laser-plasma-accelerators - A novel, versatile tool for space radiation studies

Bernhard Hidding, Thomas Königstein, Oswald Willi, James B. Rosenzweig, Kazuhisa Nakajima, Georg Pretzler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The potential of laser-plasma-based accelerator technology for future advanced space radiation studies is investigated. Laser-plasma accelerators have been shown to be capable of robust generation of particle beams such as electrons, protons, neutrons and ions, as well as photons, having a wide range of accessible parameters. Further, instead of maximum accelerating fields of the order of MV/m as in state-of-the-art accelerators, laser-plasma acceleration operates with fields up to TV/m and can thus be used to reach as yet inaccessible parameter regimes, but which are very relevant to space radiation studies. Due to their versatility and compactness, the same laser-plasma- accelerator can be used in university-scale labs to generate different kinds of particle and photon beams, each yielding up to kGy doses per shot, and allowing combinations of different kinds of radiation production simultaneously. Laser-plasma-accelerators provide the advantage of cost-effective radiation generation, thus ameliorating the current shortage of beam time for testing of radiation resistivity of electronic components. Beyond this, laser-plasma-accelerators can be used to reproduce certain aspects of space radiation, e.g. broad, decreasing multi-MeV-scale spectra, with substantially improved level of fidelity, as compared to state-of-the-art technology. This can increase the significance of electronic components testing, and in turn yield increased reliability and safety of future manned or unmanned space missions, high-altitude flights, as well as the electronic components used in harsh radiation environments in general. Laser-plasma-accelerators may therefore become indispensable tools for next-generation space radiation studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-40
Number of pages10
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2011


  • laser-plasma-acceleration
  • space radiation


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