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Optimisation and control of laser-driven radiation sources using machine learning

   Department of Physics

  , Dr Ross Gray  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Due to their compact nature and unique properties, high power laser-driven particle and radiation sources are an enabling technology with the potential for impact in a wide range of sectors, including medicine, industry and security. Routine generation of optimised and stable radiation beams is a key challenge for the development and exploitation of these promising sources. High-repetition-rate, high-intensity short-pulse lasers have recently become available and these are accelerating the development of laser-plasma sources by generating experimental data sufficiently fast for ‘live’ statistical analysis and feedback. Moreover, rapid developments in high performance computing are enabling much higher volumes of complementary simulation data, greatly increasing the parameter space that can be explored via modelling. These parallel developments mean that the rate of scientific discovery in many topics in laser-plasma science will soon no longer be defined by laser and computational hardware but by our ability to use them effectively.

Recent advances in machine learning techniques provide an opportunity to address this challenge. This project aims to do that through the development and demonstration of a new machine learning platform, to predict the conditions needed to optimise, stabilise and control particle and radiation generation in laser-solid interactions. This new platform will be based on particle in cell simulations of the laser-plasma interaction physics and will be implemented on high power laser-plasma experiments at the University of Strathclyde and at laser facilities at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

Applicants are expected to have a first class or upper second class degree in physics (or an appropriate equivalent qualification). 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.

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

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