The HEDP Group at The Ohio State University uses a high-intensity short-pulse laser to conduct cutting edge research in laser-plasma interactions. Our laser system is capable of producing a peak power of 400 TW and a peak intensity of high 10^21 W/cm^2 at the laser focus.
In high intensity laser-plasma interactions, laser energy is transferred to intense radiation sources, including x-rays, γ-rays, electron, positron, proton, and neutron beams. Their applications span a wide range of fields: from medicine to inertial confinement fusion (ICF). For example, high brightness x-ray sources generated with these lasers allow scientists to probe high energy density matter, similar to the interior of a star, in ways impossible to achieve with currently available conventional sources. Additionally, these x-rays can be generated with very short duration, which makes them an ideal probe for transient phenomena in biology and chemistry. Laser generated particle beams have promising applications such as cancer therapy, probing electromagnetic fields in plasmas, antimatter research, and neutron imaging. These applications require detailed knowledge of the underlying fundamental physics from a single atom to the collective behavior of complex plasmas.