Strong laser fields as a probe for fundamental physics
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- Gies, H. Eur. Phys. J. D (2009) 55: 311. doi:10.1140/epjd/e2009-00006-0
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Upcoming high-intensity laser systems will be able to probe the quantum-induced nonlinear regime of electrodynamics. So far unobserved QED phenomena such as the discovery of a nonlinear response of the quantum vacuum to macroscopic electromagnetic fields can become accessible. In addition, such laser systems provide for a flexible tool for investigating fundamental physics. Primary goals consist in verifying so far unobserved QED phenomena. Moreover, strong-field experiments can search for new light but weakly interacting degrees of freedom and are thus complementary to accelerator-driven experiments. I review recent developments in this field, focusing on photon experiments in strong electromagnetic fields. The interaction of particle-physics candidates with photons and external fields can be parameterized by low-energy effective actions and typically predict characteristic optical signatures. I perform first estimates of the accessible new-physics parameter space of high-intensity laser facilities such as POLARIS and ELI.