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Zuckerman Scholar Launches State-of-the-Art Laser Laboratory at TAU
Friday, June 23, 2017 10:47:00 AM

Dr. Ishay Pomerantz hopes to lower the cost and size of particle accelerators for more practical social applications

Last year, American business leader and philanthropist Mortimer Zuckerman launched the Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program to support future generations of leaders in science, technology, engineering and math in the US and Israel, fostering greater collaboration between two of the world's most advanced scientific research centers. Through the program, the highest-achieving American post-doctoral researchers and graduate students collaborate with leading researchers at Israel's top research institutions, including Tel Aviv University.

Dr. Ishay Pomerantz is a 2016-2017 Zuckerman Faculty Scholar at TAU in the Department of Particle Physics, part of the School of Physics and Astronomy.

Dr. Pomerantz received his PhD in experimental nuclear physics at TAU. As a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, he developed a unique method for laser generation of intense, ultra-short bursts of neutrons. The laser system can deliver laser pulses of over 20 terawatts (a terawatt is equal to one trillion watts). This exceeds the entire power consumption of the US.

His goal to continue this research at TAU was made possible by Mr. Zuckerman.

"We can only afford to advance our critical research with support from large contributions like that made by the Zuckerman Foundation," Dr. Pomerantz said. "It allowed us to install the most powerful laser in the Middle East in our lab and allows TAU to compete on an international scale. The laboratory equipment we have now is more expensive than any other Israeli research center can afford. We're very lucky to have been able to bring this to TAU."

Dr. Pomerantz hopes that his laser "will lead to dramatically lowering the cost and size of particle accelerators, eventually leading to more widespread use of intense laser systems for research and for social applications," he said. "One appealing example is the prospect of treating cancer tumors with beams of laser-accelerated protons."

First experiments are expected this summer, enabling the lab to investigate how intense light can accelerate particles to high energies.

Dr. Pomerantz is married to Dr. Yael Shahar–Pomerantz. They are the proud parents of two children, Daphne and Guy.




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