I am interested in applications arising from the interaction of very intense laser radiation with matter. Many of these applications require an intense laser pulse to remain focused in a beam of small diameter over a long distance of propagation; something that is prevented by refraction and diffraction of the beam. The laser powers of interest are far too high to use conventional techniques, such as optical fibres and so my research group has developed a new technique for channelling such intense pulses. We are now investigating its application to driving miniature particle accelerators and compact x-ray sources.
In particular, I work on the generation of short-wavelenght radiation (soft x-ray region) via high-harmonics generation; plasma accelerators and their applications. Both of these subjects require extended propagation of intense laser pulses (1x1016 Wcm-2 to 1x1019Wcm-2) through ionising plasma. We are therefore also interested in techniques for guiding intense laser pulses, but given the high intensities the "core" of any guide cannot be solid.