The Research

Science and applications of ultra-powerful light

Laser-accelerated protons for cancer therapy
Laser-accelerated protons for cancer therapy

The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds us to accelerate protons with lasers for the treatment of cancer. Protons do not damage healthy tissue the way x-rays do.

Movies of ultrafast chemical reactions
Movies of ultrafast chemical reactions

The Department of Energy (DOE) funds us to develop pulses that are so brief in time that they can be used to freeze the motion of atoms and molecules. Doc Edgerton, a UNL alum, froze the motion of a much larger object, a bouncing ball with a much slower camera flash.

Detection of cracks in turbine blades to prevent aircraft failure
Detection of cracks in turbine blades to prevent aircraft failure

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funds us to develop radiation sources that can be used to diagnose cracks in turbine blades before they can lead to catastrophic jet engine failure. The only alternative is to use a synchrotron light source, which is the size of the UNL City Campus.

Novel radiation sources
Novel radiation sources

Radiation emitted from the laser focus spans the entire spectrum and has numerous applications in science, medicine, defense, and security.

Sponsored Projects

  • Controlled release of energy from nuclear isomers by laser-driven x-rays; Army Research Office, Award # W911NF-17-2-0178
  • Relativistic Optics – Interactions of Electrons with Laser Light at Highly Relativistic Intensities; Air Force Office for Scientific Research, award # FA9550-14-1-0345
  • Ultra-Low Emittance Electron Beams from Laser-Plasma Photo-Cathodes; National Science Foundation, grant # PHY-1535700
  • Laser-Produced Coherent X-Ray Sources; US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, award # DE-FG02-05ER15663
  • Low Dose Radiographic System Based on a Novel Narrowband, Tunable, Multi-MeV X-Ray; Department of Homeland Security, Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, competitively awarded contract HSHQDC-13-C-B0036
  • Propagation and Interactions of Ultrahigh Power Light: Relativistic Nonlinear Optics; Air Force Office for Scientific Research,  FA9550-11-1-0157
  • High-Power Laser Science Collaboratory; National Science Foundation (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act), grant # PHY-0963262
  • Compact Source of Laser-Driven Monoenergetic Gamma-Rays; Defense Threat Reduction Agency, HDTRA1-11-C-0001
  • Research and Development of a High-Power Laser-Driven Electron Accelerator Suitable for Applications; Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, FA9550-06-1-0449 and FA9550-09-1-0009
  • Post-Detonation Nuclear Forensics; USSTRATCOM, contract # FA4600-12-D-9000-0018
  • Standoff Detection of Nuclear Materials; USSTRATCOM, contract # FA4600-12-D-9000-0005
  • High-Energy Laser for Detection, Inspection, and Non-destructive Testing; Air Force Office for Scientific Research, award # FA9550-07-1-0521 & FA9550-08-1-0232

This support does not constitute an express or implied endorsement on the part of the Government.

department of energy
defense threat reduction agency
National Science Foundation
Air Force Office of Scientific Research