1570 Revolutionizing Isotope Science and Applications with Laser-Like Gamma-Rays

Sunday, February 21, 2010: 2:10 PM
Room 17B (San Diego Convention Center)
Christopher Barty , Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA
The scattering of short duration, energetic laser pulses off of relativistic electrons can create tunable, highly polarized and collimated beams of mono-energetic gamma-ray (MEGa-ray) radiation of unprecedented peak brightness.  At MeV photon energies, optimized MEGa-ray sources can exceed the brightness of the world's largest synchrotrons by more than 15 orders of magnitude. This enormous and revolutionary leap in gamma-ray capability enables an astonishingly wide array of photo-nuclear applications that are based on the photon interacting primarily with the nucleus and not the valence electrons of the atom.  For example MEGa-ray sources can be tuned to efficiently excite isotope-specific nuclear resonance fluorescence and in turn identify with isotopic-specificity the presence, quantity and location of any material.  This presentation will review both the development of MEGa-ray sources and associated advanced laser and accelerator technologies at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the application of MEGa-ray sources to nuclear energy, nuclear waste, homeland security and basic science.