Characterisation and application of a laser-based hard x-ray source

University dissertation from Department of Physics, Lund Institute of Technology, P. O. Box 118, S-221 00 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: Hard X-rays are generated by focusing 110 fs laser pulses with intensities of about 1017 W·cm-2 onto solid metal targets. Characteristic properties of this X-ray source are the small source size, the short pulse duration and the high peak flux. The aim of the present work was to characterise this X-ray source and to demonstrate possible applications. A comparison with other X-ray sources and conventional imaging techniques is made. Characterising measurements were performed, including source size, emission spectrum, temporal behaviour, source stability and the influence of various laser parameters. The emission spectrum was measured using both energy-dispersive solid-state detectors and wavelength-dispersive crystal spectroscopy. The conversion efficiency from laser light to X-ray radiation was measured for different target materials. The laser ablation from different targets was studied. The feasibility of special imaging techniques, e.g. differential imaging and time-gated imaging, was investigated both theoretically and experimentally. Differential imaging allows for selective imaging of contrast agents, while time-gated imaging can reduce the influence of scattered radiation in X-ray imaging. Time-gated imaging was demonstrated in different imaging geometries, both for planar imaging and computed tomography imaging. Reasonable agreement between theoretically calculated values and experimental results was obtained.

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