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Optimisation and control of a laser-driven ion accelerator using machine learning.


   Cockcroft Institute

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

About the Project

A PhD project is available from October 2022 on Optimisation and control of a laser-driven ion accelerator using machine learning.

The extreme conditions reached during the interaction of an ultra-intense laser pulse with matter can lead, if suitably controlled, to the rapid acceleration of electrons and ions, to form high energy beams with unique properties. The study of intense laser-driven particle acceleration mechanisms, and the characterisation and optimisation of the high energy particle beams produced, is one of the most active areas of intense laser-matter interaction science. These potentially compact sources of ultrashort pulses of energetic particles could bring new capabilities to accelerator science, with wide-ranging applications in areas as diverse as cancer therapy, industry, and in inertial fusion energy schemes.

Recent advances in high-repetition rate, high-intensity short-pulse lasers (e.g. the Hz-level repetition rate 350 TW laser at SCAPA, University of Strathclyde) make implementation of statistical analysis and machine learning-based feedback and control of experiments possible. This PhD project aims to progress the optimisation and stabilisation of laser-driven ion sources by developing and applying novel machine learning techniques.

Applicants are expected to have a first class or upper second class degree in physics (or an appropriate equivalent qualification). The Cockcroft Institute, the University of Strathclyde and the SUPA Graduate School will provide a full programme of training and development. The student will be based primarily at the University of Strathclyde, and will participate in experiments at the SCAPA laboratories and at external high power laser facilities, such as those at the Central Laser Facility, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. The project involves collaboration with researchers at the University of Lancaster.

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact Prof. Paul McKenna () or Dr. Ross Gray () for more information.

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 international citizens are eligible to apply. A full package of training and support will be provided. An IELTS score of at least 6.5 is required.

You can find out more about being a PhD student at the Cockcroft Institute here, where you can download an application form and find out about the other PhD projects available. To apply for this project, fill in the application form and email it with your CV to .

How to apply: http://www.cockcroft.ac.uk/join-us

Anticipated Start Date: October 2022 for 3.5 Years


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