Accelerator Physics – Grüner
Prof. Dr. Florian Grüner
Our research group occupies itself with 2 topics: Laser plasma accelerators and medical imaging using both laser-based sources and a synchrotron.
Both subjects are closely related: It is possible to perform basic research into medical imaging, for example using the DESY research center’s PETRA III synchrotron, but the synchrotron’s size would clearly make clinical use difficult. Laser plasma accelerators, on the other hand, can accelerate electrons to almost the speed of light over an exceedingly short distance. When such relativistic electrons oscillate in a laser field, they emit X-Ray photons in a cone with a small opening angle in a forward direction. This makes the production of synchrotron-type X-Rays very compact. The basis for this is a 200 TW high-power laser.
Laser plasma acceleration
We are one of the world’s leading research groups in the field of laser plasma acceleration, especially with regard to the use of accelerators, and of compact free-electron lasers (FEL project) and undulator radiation (LUX project) in particular. Our high-power lasers also have a high degree of stability.
Our medical imaging work focuses on X-Ray fluorescence imaging (XFI). In this field we have achieved an important breakthrough, as previously it was not generally possible to use XFI for large objects such as human beings. The reason for this is that, although the radiated X-Ray photons can cause fluorescence in, for example, gold nanoparticles, they scatter in the object itself (Compton effect). This Compton scattering is so strong in large objects that the expected signals from the X-Ray fluorescence cannot be measured. Using our method (spatial filtering with an algorithm), it is now possible, in principle, to perform XFI on all medically relevant objects.
Our aim is to make important contributions to science through both fields of research, especially for medical applications where new imaging methods can lead to new insights into the cause of certain diseases. We work intensively on pilot studies in close cooperation with the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf.
Our team would be very happy to welcome students who would like to work with us on interesting research topics for their bachelor’s thesis, master’s thesis, or doctoral dissertation. Click here to explore our open positions.