Schematic drawing of LhARA.

LhARA, the Laser-hybrid Accelerator for Radiobiological Applications, will harness the unique features of a laser accelerator with novel, strong-focusing and rapid acceleration techniques to allow biology studies and, eventually, particle beam therapy to be performed using a wide variety of ion species in completetly new regimens.

LhARA: the Laser-hybrid Accelerator for Radiobiological Applications

LhARA, the Laser-hybrid Accelerator for Radiobiological Applications, has been conceived as a highly flexible source of proton and ion beams for the elucidation of the micro-biophysical processes that determine the response of tissue to particle beams. The technologies that will be demonstrated in LhARA have the potential to drive a step-change in clinical practice allowing particle-beam therapy to be delivered in completely new regimens, combining a variety of ion species in a single treatment fraction and exploiting ultra-high dose rates. By creating a system that incorporates dose-deposition imaging in a fast feedback-and-control system, LhARA has the potential to remove the requirement for a large gantry, laying the foundations for “best in class” treatments to be made available to the many.

In LhARA, a high-power pulsed laser will be used to drive the creation of a large flux of protons or ions which are captured and formed into a beam by strong-focusing plasma lenses. The plasma (Gabor) lenses provide the same focusing strength as high-field solenoids at a fraction of the cost. Rapid acceleration will be performed using a fixed-field alternating-gradient accelerator (FFA), thereby preserving the unique flexibility in the time, energy, and spatial structure of the beam afforded by the laser-driven source.

As a hybrid accelerator, LhARA will combine established technologies with the unique features of a laser accelerator. As a result, LhARA will be able to deliver much higher dose rates than any other approach currently available,

A plot of the performance of LhARA in comparison to other existing or planned facilities used for the study of radiobioloigy.  The beam energy is plotted as a function of the maximum instantaneous dose rate.  LhARA's performance exceeds that of conventionall sources and is comparable to that provided by ELIMAIA.
Comparison of the projected performance of LhARA at Stage 1 and Stage 2 with the performance of other facilities that provide, or plan to provide, beams for radiobiology.

and would be capable of delivering high doses of radiation to multiple labs at the same time, allowing multiple experiments to be performed in parallel. The concept for LhARA was recently published, bringing the realisation of the facility a step closer.

Imperial contribution

Imperial's involvement is coordinated by the Centre for Clinical Applications of Particles (CCAP). Imperial personnel devised the original concept for LhARA and played the seminal role in forging the multidisciplinary LhARA collaboration. Imperial now leads the collaboration in the design of the facility. Imperial personnal have leading roles in the specification and development of the laser-driven source, the Gabor-lens capture and focusing system, and the fixed-field alternating-gradient accelerator.


Group members: Titus-Stefan Dascalu, Ajit Kurup, Hin-Tung Lau, Ken Long, Josie McGarrigle, Jaroslaw Pasternak, Juergen Pozimski, Rebecca Taylor