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Laser driven novel particle sources

Project Description

The PhD project involves investigation of the use of ultra-intense lasers to drive novel sources of secondary particles and radiation, with particular emphasis on the generation of muon beams or penetrating radiation capable of being used for imaging applications. Laser driven sources have unique properties in terms of their small size (microns), short pulse nature (typically pico-seconds) and versatility, which open up new opportunities for novel multi-modal imaging. The project also involves exploring the potential for new diagnostic techniques suitable for laser plasma generated muon sources (dosimetry and track detectors) and considering ways to improve the state of the art capability for understanding and manipulating laser driven particle beam propagation and interactions. This research will be based at the Central Laser Facility, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Science and Technology Facility Council, UKRI, Oxfordshire and will involve undertaking experiments using STFC’s unique high power laser facilities (, in collaboration with DSTL. It will also involve analysing data from earlier experimental campaigns.

As well as planning and executing experiments using the world leading High power Vulcan and Gemini lasers, the student will also conduct simulations using state of the art high performance computing facilities, on which training will be provided. With the new Extreme Photonics Applications Centre (£81M) currently under construction at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, the student will also consider how developments in laser driven secondary sources could be implemented on high repetition rate laser systems for scientific and industrial applications. The student will be expected to generate regular summaries of their work with the aim of publication in suitable journals.

Funding Notes

This 4-year PhD project is fully funded. The student will be registered at the Department of Physics at the University of Strathclyde and based at the Central Laser Facility, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Oxfordshire. Travel funding, to attend specific training events held at the University of Strathclyde or for international conferences or summer schools, will be provided.


C. Armstrong et al, Bremsstrahlung emission profile from intense laser-solid interactions as a function of laser focal spot size
Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, 61, 3, 034001, DOI: 10.1088/1361-6587/aaf596, 2019

H. Liu et al, Cherenkov radiation-based optical fibre diagnostics of fast electrons generated in intense laser-plasma interactions, Review of Scientific Instruments 89, 8, 083302 DOI: 10.1063/1.5024872, 2018

D. R. Rusby et al, Novel scintillator-based x-ray spectrometer for use on high repetition laser plasma interaction experiments, Review of Scientific Instruments 89, 7, 073502, DOI: 10.1063/1.5019213, 2018

P. Bradford et al, EMP control and characterization on high-power laser systems. High Power Laser Science and Engineering, 6, E21. doi:10.1017/hpl.2018.21, 2018

G. G. Scott et al, Dual Ion Species Plasma Expansion from Isotopically Layered Cryogenic Targets
Phys. Rev. Lett, 120, 20, 204801, 2018

R. M. Deas et al, A laser driven pulsed X-ray backscatter technique for enhanced penetrative imaging
Journal of X-ray Science and Technology, 23, 6, 791-797, 2015

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