Bright perspectives for nuclear photonics
Fakultät f. Physik, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany
Received: 13 March 2014
Revised: 24 March 2014
Published online: 4 June 2014
With the advent of new high-power, short-pulse laser facilities in combination with novel technologies for the production of highly brilliant, intense γ beams (like, e.g., Extreme Light Infrastructure – Nuclear Physics (ELI-NP) in Bucharest, MEGaRay in Livermore or a planned upgrade of the HIγS facility at Duke University), unprecedented perspectives will open up in the coming years for photonuclear physics both in basic sciences as in various fields of applications. Ultra-high sensitivity will be enabled by an envisaged increase of the γ-beam spectral density from the presently typical 102γ/eVs to about 104γ/eVs, thus enabling a new quality of nuclear photonics , assisted by new γ-optical elements . Photonuclear reactions with highly brilliant γ beams will allow to produce radioisotopes for nuclear medicine with much higher specific activity and/or more economically than with conventional methods. This will open the door for completely new clinical applications of radioisotopes . The isotopic, state-selective sensitivity of the well-established technique of nuclear resonance fluorescence (NRF) will be boosted by the drastically reduced energy bandwidth (<0.1%) of the novel γ beams. Together with a much higher intensity of these beams, this will pave the road towards a γ-beam based non-invasive tomography and microscopy, assisting the management of nuclear materials, such as radioactive waste management, the detection of nuclear fissile material in the recycling process or the detection of clandestine fissile materials. Moreover, also secondary sources like low-energy, pulsed, polarized neutron beams of high intensity and high brilliance  or a new type of positron source with significantly increased brilliance, for the first time fully polarized , can be realized and lead to new applications in solid state physics or material sciences.
© EDP Sciences, Springer-Verlag, 2014