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Growth and Characterisation of Alkali Antimonide Photocathodes for the LHeC prototype accelerator PERLE in Orsay


About This PhD Project

Project Description

Supervisors: Prof. Geoff Dearden (Liverpool University), Dr. Tim Noakes (STFC Daresbury Laboratory), Dr. Lee Jones (STFC Daresbury Laboratory) and Dr. Boris Militsyn (STFC Daresbury Laboratory)

Project Description:


The proposed PERLE project in Orsay, France is a test facility for a future larger scale Energy Recovery Linear accelerator to be deployed at CERN as part of Large Hadron-electron Collider, an upgrade of the LHC allowing electron hadron collisions. PERLE will be a lower energy test facility which will be used to develop the crucial advances in accelerator technology required to achieve the challenging beam parameters. The photoemission based electron source or photoinjector, which is a photoemitter - photocathode housed in an accelerating field, is one such critical technology, since the quality of the electron beam is to a greater extent limited by that of the bunch initially produced. This project focusses on the development of photocathodes suitable for use in the PERLE photoinjector, involving the growth and characterisation of these materials and ultimately their potential testing at the facility in Orsay.

Work on the project will be at Daresbury Laboratory and will mostly involve laboratory based studies of alkali antimonide materials such as Cs3Sb and others. The project will entail commissioning of a new alkali photocathode growth system that is currently under construction in Daresbury. There will also be the opportunity to use other research facilities within the lab to further characterise these materials to investigate ultimate beam brightness achievable. The intention is to identify the optimum materials and preparation techniques to achieve high brightness and long operational lifetime.

In the first year of the project the student will familiarise themselves with the existing surface analysis equipment and contribute to the commissioning of the new alkali antimonide/telluride growth facility. In subsequent years growth and characterisation of photocathode samples with different composition will be carried out. The successful candidate will also be expected to contribute to the design of a stand-alone preparation system for use on the photoinjector at the PERLE facility. In the final period there may be an opportunity to test this system and the cathodes produced with it at Orsay.

This work will require knowledge of solid state physics and thin film growth, and will involve extensive use of UHV and XHV vacuum systems. Knowledge of optics and low-power lasers (IR, visible and UV) is also desirable. Programming ability using LabVIEW would be highly beneficial, as would knowledge of MatLab (or similar) for data analysis.

Qualifications applicants should have/expect to receive: The successful candidate will have or expect to obtain a first or upper second-class degree or equivalent (e.g. MPhys, MSci) in physics or chemistry. Experience of solid state physics, thin film growth, vacuum systems, low-power lasers, basic programming and accelerator physics is desirable but not essential.

Funding and eligibility:


The project is fully funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council for 3.5 years; UK 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 over 150 people. An IELTS score of at least 6.5 is required.

Contact for further information: , or visit on the Engineering Department on the University of Liverpool main campus.

How to apply: http://www.liverpool.ac.uk/postgraduate/howtoapply/

This position will remain open until filled.

Anticipated Start Date: September 2019 for 3.5 Years

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