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Femtosecond synchronization for externally-injected laser wakefield acceleration at CLARA

Project Description

Applications are invited for a fully-funded studentship from Oct 2020 on the development of synchronisation, timing and feedback mechanisms in laser plasma wakefield acceleration (LWFA), held at the University of Liverpool and the Accelerator Science and Technology Centre (AsTeC) at the Daresbury Laboratory. LWFA has been hugely successful in demonstrating high gradient and high energy acceleration of electrons, recently up to 8GeV in 20cm. The shot-to-shot energy stability and bandwidth of these sources remains however below that of conventional accelerators; this is due to the intrinsically nonlinear and noisy nature by which particles are ‘self-injected’ into the laser wakefield. One attractive method to improve the performance of LWFA would be to inject high quality bunches from a conventional accelerator into a LWFA, which would allow energy gain in a linear regime and preserves the injected bunch quality.

This project is aimed towards a practical demonstration of externally-injected laser wakefield acceleration at the CLARA electron accelerator facility (STFC Daresbury Laboratory), by evaluating and measuring laser-electron beam synchronization with femtosecond resolution. A diagnostic capable of resolving the electron-laser synchronization directly with such high resolution is technologically challenging and not immediately available commercially; a key element of this project will be to design, build and evaluate the operation of this diagnostic. The magnitude of the laser-electron beam synchronization will be heavily dependent on sources of noise in the high energy laser. The project will seek to quantify (and where possible, resolve) sources of noise and drift in a high energy Ti:Sapphire master oscillator / power amplifier laser system, available in the laser laboratory adjacent to the CLARA accelerator.

The project will be predominantly experimental in nature, involving work with high power lasers and particle accelerators. The applicant will be expected to have a first or upper second class degree in physics or other appropriate qualification, with an interest in experimental work in the field of laser and accelerator physics. Laser experience is desirable but not essential, as is experience in accelerator and computational physics. A full graduate programme of training and development is provided by the Cockcroft Institute. The student will be based primarily at the Institute at Daresbury, with some work in the laser lab at the University of Liverpool. It is anticipated that the student will participate in experiments at facilities such as the CLARA accelerator at Daresbury, the Central Laser Facility at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and also potentially international laser and accelerator facilities

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact Dr. Laura Corner () for more information. This position will remain open until filled.

Contact for further information:

How to apply:

Anticipated Start Date: October 2020 for 3.5 Years

Funding Notes

Upon acceptance of a student, this project will be funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council for 3.5 years; UK and other EU citizens are eligible to apply. A full package of training and support will be provided by the Cockcroft Institute, and the student will take part in a vibrant accelerator research and education community of around 200 researchers that includes around 70 postgraduates. An IELTS score of at least 6.5 is required.

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