Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Reno professor showcases ’mini’ ion accelerator

19.04.2005


Tom Cowan’s team cultivating new laser technology for more precise cancer treatments



Tom Cowan’s team is thinking smaller, but with big impact. Particle accelerators are a key research tool in a high energy physicist’s arsenal, but they take up a lot of space – miles and miles of it. But at the University of Nevada, Reno, smaller is better.

Cowan, director of the Nevada Terawatt Facility at the University, and his research partners have produced a proton beam that has 100 times higher quality than any conventional particle accelerator and fits on a tabletop.


Irradiation with accelerated carbon ions can pinpoint a tumor and destroy it without sacrificing surrounding tissue, making possible treatment for some cancers, such as those in the head region, that were previously untreatable.

Reducing the size, and thus ultimately the cost, and improving the quality of the ion beam could provide broader access to basic research as well as applications such as ion beam cancer therapy, Cowan said.

"This could result in cheaper and more readily available ion beam cancer therapies, which have been shown to be far more precise in treating cancer than conventional therapies," he added.

Using ultra high-intensity, short-pulsed lasers to irradiate thin metallic foils, Cowan and his team have generated a high-current beam of protons and ions.

"In principle, this could replace roughly 30 feet of conventional radio frequency accelerators," Cowan told attendees at the American Physical Society meeting here. The experiments were performed at the Laboratoire pour l’Utilization des Lasers Intense (LULI) laser facility at the Ecole Polytechnique near Paris, France, and at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, N.M., using its Trident laser.

Current particle accelerators, by comparison, include the Department of Energy’s Fermilab accelerator in Illinois, which is four miles in circumference, while the huge CERN European Laboratory in Switzerland -- made widely popular in the Dan Brown novel, Angels & Demons -- is nearly 17 miles in circumference.

Cowan leads a team of approximately 65 at the Nevada Terawatt Facility, which houses a 2 trillion watt Z-pinch. The Terawatt team is bringing the Z-pinch together with a one-tenth-scale petawatt laser to create the only facility in the world with this capacity. The facility also boasts strong in-house theory and simulation capabilities supported by a 48-node cluster computer.

Research areas underway at the Terawatt Facility include wire array physics, laboratory studies of astrophysics, dynamic processes in material science, ultra-strongly magnetized solids and plasmas, advanced backlighters, laser plasma and laser solid interactions, laser plasma acceleration, and ultrafast x-ray sources.

The Terawatt Facility theory team is also developing simulations to support experiments that include Department of Energy-funded Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, and Sandia National laboratories; LULI; the Institute for Laser Engineering at Osaka University in Japan; and the Max Born Institute and the Gesellschaft fuer Schwerionenforschung in Germany.

Research funding at the facility nearly tripled since 2001 to $8.5 million. Papers published in top refereed publications such as Nature, Physical Review Letters, Physical Review and Physics of Plasmas, as well as refereed conference proceedings, has grown nearly six-fold in four years to 46 papers in 2004.

Cowan joined the Nevada’s physics department in April 2003. He completed his undergraduate work at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, and his graduate studies at Yale University. He spent 13 years at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and two years at General Atomics in San Diego before joining the University.

Melanie Robbins | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unr.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Tune your radio: galaxies sing while forming stars
21.02.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie

nachricht Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms
17.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate

21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Use your Voice – and Smart Homes will “LISTEN”

21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>