|Prof.||Bjorn Manuel Hegelich Ph.D.|
|Intro.||Relativistic Quantum Photonics investigates the physics at very high light intensities. In fact, the intensities are so high(I>1029 W/cm2) that at the electrons in the light field gain may times their rest mass in a half cycle of the light wave and all physics theories have to utilize relativistic description. At even higher intensities(I>1029 W/cm2) we have to account for quantum effects as well, and no finished theories currently exist to describe quantum effects in strong classical potentials even though the phenomenon is ubiquitous in many areas of extreme physics including QED, QCD, and gravity. If we increase the intensity even further, ultimately the protons, too, become relativistic and the vacuum has to be treated like a material, that can be polarized or broken.
On the practical side these interactions can be used to realize new generations of compact, high brilliance particle sources with potential applications in material science, imaging and detection, medical physics and many more. We are working on developing these sources as well as the next generation of ultrahigh intensity lasers to drive them.