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Hybrid plasma wakefield acceleration

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Electron-driven plasma wakefield acceleration (PWFA) allows production of electron beams with energy gains and brightness orders of magnitude larger than with state-of-the-art accelerators via the plasma photocathode (dubbed “Trojan Horse”) approach [1,2]. The electron beam which drives the plasma wave can come from a linac, or from a compact laser-plasma-accelerator [3,4]. The PhD student will engage in experiments, theory and simulations in a diverse and multi-national environment, aiming to advance compact, all-optical plasma photocathode wakefield accelerators, powered by laser-plasma-generated electron beams. This approach has potential to improve the output electron beam brightness by a factor up 100,000× vs. the state-of-the-art.

In addition to the UK’s Cockcroft Institute, the activity will be supported by the “NeXource” project, funded by a European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant 2020-2025, and by the UK’s Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) by the “PWFA-FEL” project 2019-2023.

Experiments will take place in the UK at the Scottish Centre for the Application of Plasma-based Accelerators (SCAPA) in Glasgow and at STFC facilities, at plasma accelerator facilities in Europe [3,4] and the US [1]. The applicant should have a first or upper second class degree in physics or other appropriate qualification. Laser and/or accelerator experience is desirable but not essential, as is experience in computational physics. A full graduate programme of training and development is provided by the Cockcroft Institute. The student will be based at primarily at the University of Strathclyde, with the opportunity of extended placements at Daresbury Laboratory and/or at European partners such as at HZDR Dresden, MPQ Munich or LOA Paris.

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact Prof. Bernhard Hidding () for more information. This position will remain open until filled.

Funding and eligibility: 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.

Contact for further information:

How to apply:

Anticipated Start Date: October 2020 for 3.5 Years


[1] G.G. Manahan .. Hidding, B., Nature Comm., 8, 15705 (2017)
[2] A. Deng .. B. Hidding, Generation and acceleration of electron bunches from a plasma photocathode, Nature Physics (2019)
[3] Gilljohann .. Hidding .. Karsch, Phys. Rev. X 9, 011046 (2019)

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