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High-energy quantum physics with extremely intense laser pulses

  • Christoph Keitel
    • Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics


The field of laser-matter interaction traditionally deals with the response of atoms, molecules, and plasmas to an external light wave. However, the recent sustained technological progress is opening up the possibility of employing intense laser radiation to trigger or substantially influence physical processes beyond atomic-physics energy scales. Available optical laser intensities exceeding 10^22 W/cm^2 can push the fundamental light-electron interaction to the extreme limit where radiation-reaction effects dominate the electron dynamics, can shed light on the structure of the quantum vacuum, and can trigger the creation of particles such as electrons, muons, and pions and their corresponding antiparticles. Also, novel sources of intense coherent high-energy photons and laser-based particle colliders can pave the way to nuclear quantum optics and may even allow for the potential discovery of new particles beyond the standard model. Following an introduction into especially strong-field quantum electrodynamics with extremely strong laser pulses, I will focus on vacuum refractivity, quantum radiative reaction, electron-positron cascades and polarized lepton and gamma ray emission along with applications in nuclear, high-energy and astrophysics.

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High-energy quantum physics with extremely intense laser pulses


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