Research Highlight

Bacterial coating for better ion acceleration

doi:10.1038/nindia.2014.109 Published online 20 August 2014

A few layers of micron sized Escherichia coli cells coated on a plain polished glass surface could dramatically change the 'ion acceleration' of a high intensity laser pulses, scientists have found1. The finding could have significant implications in proton therapy, ion beam production and proton radiography.

The ability to use intense ultra-short pulses to generate high energy ion pulses with high peak current is important not only from the fundamental view point but also towards developing novel applications. Intense laser produced plasmas generate hot electrons that lead to ion acceleration.

The researchers used a simple, unconventional target — E.coli bacteria coated glass surface — to generate 700 keV carbon ions as against 40 KeV of conventional targets. Coating the glass surface with bacteria increased the laser energy coupling and generated a hotter plasma more effective for the ion acceleration compared to the conventional polished targets.

The researchers say the accelerated, high-energy carbon ions can be used as a source for multiple applications.


1. Dalui, M. et al. Bacterial cells enhance laser driven ion acceleration. Sci. Rep. (2014) doi: 10.1038/srep06002