The experimental station “Laser-driven Ion (LION) Acceleration” serves research on novel particle accelerator technology that will be used in physical basic research and in medical physics applications.
Within the LION-experiments high intensity light pulses, generated by the laser sources ATLAS or PFS-pro, meet wafer thin carbon-based foils or isolated microsphere targets. The intense laser by virtue of its enormous light pressure energizes electrons which drag along ions, accelerating them to some ten percent of light speed. The accelerated particle bunches are characterized by detectors, which are partly subject of research as well. Moreover, through particle-optics, e.g. magnetic lenses, the ions are transported, energy-selected, as well as manipulated and focused onto the sample under investigation.
Laser-driven ion radiation provides already these days an interesting complement for the research of ion-matter interaction, which is particularly interesting for improving cancer therapy and our understanding of related chemical as well as biological processes. For direct treatment of tumors the technology must significantly mature, in particular to provide the necessary technology for medical use of ion radiation in a much more cost-effective and space-saving way.