Tunable, polarized, mono-energetic, gamma-ray (MEGa-ray) beams can be created via Compton scattering of pulsed lasers off of ultra-bright electron beams. Above 2 MeV, the peak brilliance of an optimized MEGa-ray source can exceed that of world’s largest synchrotrons by more than 15 orders of magnitude. These narrow-divergence, laser-like, gamma-ray beams are enabling the pursuit of new nuclear science and applications with photons, i.e. nuclear photonics. Applications include isotope-specific nuclear materials management, element-specific medical radiography and radiology, non-destructive, isotope-specific, material assay and imaging, precision spectroscopy of nuclear resonances and photon-induced fission. Scaling of MEGa-ray sources to MW beam powers is also feasible and might one day enable efficient, photon-based transmutation of materials. This presentation will review activities at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory related to the design and optimization of MEGa-ray sources and to the development and use of unique detector systems required for isotope-specific, materials applications.

© 2013 IEEE

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