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  • Received: Aug. 4, 2018

    Accepted: Nov. 21, 2018

    Posted: Apr. 26, 2020

    Published Online: Feb. 25, 2019

    The Author Email: I. C. E. Turcu (edmond.turcu@stfc.ac.uk)

    DOI: 10.1017/hpl.2018.66

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    I. C. E. Turcu, B. Shen, D. Neely, G. Sarri, K. A. Tanaka, P. McKenna, S. P. D. Mangles, T.-P. Yu, W. Luo, X.-L. Zhu, Y. Yin. Quantum electrodynamics experiments with colliding petawatt laser pulses[J]. High Power Laser Science and Engineering, 2019, 7(1): 01000e10

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High Power Laser Science and Engineering, Vol. 7, Issue 1, 01000e10 (2019)

Quantum electrodynamics experiments with colliding petawatt laser pulses

I. C. E. Turcu1,2,7,†, B. Shen3,4,5, D. Neely1, G. Sarri6, K. A. Tanaka7, P. McKenna8, S. P. D. Mangles9, T.-P. Yu10, W. Luo11, X.-L. Zhu10,12, and Y. Yin10

Author Affiliations

  • 1STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Central Laser Facility, OxfordshireOX11 0QX, UK
  • 2School of Electronic Science and Engineering, Nanjing University, Nanjing210023, China
  • 3State Key Laboratory of High Field Laser Physics, Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201800, China
  • 4School of Physical Science and Technology, ShanghaiTech University, Shanghai 201210, China
  • 5Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai 200234, China
  • 6School of Mathematics and Physics, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK
  • 7ELI-NP Extreme Light Infrastructure – Nuclear Physics, National Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering (IFIN HH), Bucharest-Magurele077125, Romania
  • 8SUPA Department of Physics, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow G4 0NG, UK
  • 9The John Adams Institute for Accelerator Science, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK
  • 10Department of Physics, National University of Defense Technology, Changsha 410073, China
  • 11School of Nuclear Science and Technology, University of South China, Hengyang 421001, China
  • 12Key Laboratory for Laser Plasmas (MOE), School of Physics and Astronomy, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China

Abstract

A new generation of high power laser facilities will provide laser pulses with extremely high powers of 10 petawatt (PW) and even 100 PW, capable of reaching intensities of $10^{23}~\text{W}/\text{cm}^{2}$ in the laser focus. These ultra-high intensities are nevertheless lower than the Schwinger intensity $I_{S}=2.3\times 10^{29}~\text{W}/\text{cm}^{2}$ at which the theory of quantum electrodynamics (QED) predicts that a large part of the energy of the laser photons will be transformed to hard Gamma-ray photons and even to matter, via electron–positron pair production. To enable the investigation of this physics at the intensities achievable with the next generation of high power laser facilities, an approach involving the interaction of two colliding PW laser pulses is being adopted. Theoretical simulations predict strong QED effects with colliding laser pulses of ${\geqslant}10~\text{PW}$ focused to intensities ${\geqslant}10^{22}~\text{W}/\text{cm}^{2}$.

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