Compact Laser-driven Ions Beams - Combining Global Leadership in High-power Lasers in France and the Us to Make Effective Cancer Therapies Widely Available
Despite the well-proven benefits of proton therapy for tumor treatment there are less than 50 particle therapy facilities in the world. They provide energetic proton beams of 70-250 MeV for treatment of 100-200 patients on a regular basis. These small numbers make it paramount to overcome the greatest obstacle to the universal use of protons in cancer treatment, i.e. the size and cost of the accelerator. The project will bring together Prof. Fuchs, Dr. Glenzer and their postdocs and graduate students from the École Polytechnique and Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences to develop the physics for a new compact device. Through a series of experiments using ultra-high power lasers we seek to demonstrate a novel particle acceleration mechanism of protons and test predictions from state-of-the-art many particle simulations. The scheme relies on the production of fast travelling shock waves in high-density matter that reflect ions in the target and accelerate them to high energies. These studies will establish the scaling to future high-power laser facilities that are being built in France to achieve record proton energies.