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Novel laser plasma acceleration – making accelerators smaller, cheaper, better

   University of Liverpool

   Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a fully funded studentship from Oct 2023 in laser-driven plasma wakefield acceleration (LWFA). LWFA has been hugely successful in demonstrating high gradient and high energy acceleration of electrons but 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 will use the new Full Energy Beam Exploitation (FEBE) facility on the CLARA linear electron accelerator at the Daresbury Laboratory to investigate high accelerating gradient, high charge external injection experiments. This will also involve measurement of the emittance of the injected and accelerated beams to demonstrate the preservation of the beam quality. The FEBE facility has recently been awarded funding for a 100TW laser, making it one of only a few facilities worldwide where it is possible to investigate the interaction of a high power laser with a relativistic electron beam in a plasma.

The student will study both experimentally and numerically external injection of electrons into a laser driven wakefield at FEBE and develop diagnostics capable of fully characterising the accelerated beam. This will involve detailed simulations using the fbpic code and beam simulations by accelerator staff at Daresbury to identify the parameter space for successful injection and acceleration. This will also involve the design and testing of a suitable gas jet target for injection, and investigation of guiding mechanisms for the high power laser to drive the wake before a full experimental programme on external injection.

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 CLARA/FEBE at Daresbury, the Central Laser Facility at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and potentially other international laser and accelerator facilities

Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Dr. Laura Corner () 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. 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:

How to apply:

Anticipated Start Date: October 2023 for 3.5 Years

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